22 Jan 2013

Bali court orders death sentence for British woman

9:23 pm on 22 January 2013

A British woman has been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug-trafficking.

Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May last year after Bali police found 4.8kg of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase while carrying out a routine customs check.

The 56-year-old from Gloucestershire insists that she was set up and coerced into bringing the drugs to the island.

British human rights charity Reprieve says Sandiford, who has a history of mental health problems, was targeted by drug-traffickers who exploited her vulnerability and made threats against her children, the BBC reports.

Prosecutors recommended a 15-year jail sentence. Her lawyers say they are surprised at the verdict and will appeal.

But the judges said there were no mitigating circumstances and the defendant did not appear to care about the consequences of her actions.

They said she has damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination and weakened the government's anti-drugs programme.

Sandiford appeared shocked at the sentence and covered her head with a brown sarong to hide her face from the glare of cameras as she was led out after the verdict.

The woman was accused of being at the centre of a ring involving three other Britons.

In 2012, Paul Beales was sentenced to four years for possession of drugs, while Rachel Dougall was jailed for one year for failing to report a crime.

The drug possession trial of Julian Ponder - who is believed to be Dougall's partner - is still taking place. He is alleged to have collected cocaine from Sandiford.