Cheltenham woman Lindsay Sandiford sentenced to death
Cheltenham woman Lindsay Sandiford has been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug trafficking.
The 56-year-old was arrested in May after Bali police found 4.8kg (10.6lb) of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase.
The cocaine she smuggled was worth around £1.6 million, the Associated Press reported.
Sandiford has insisted she was set up and coerced into bringing the drugs to the island.
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Prosecutors had recommended a 15-year sentence of imprisonment but the judges said there were no mitigating circumstances and the defendant did not appear to care about the consequences of her actions.
They claim she has damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination.
Sandiford was accused of being at the centre of a ring involving three other Britons.
Last year, Paul Beales was sentenced to four years for possession of drugs and Rachel Dougall was jailed for one year for failing to report a crime.
The drug possession trial of Julian Ponder, from Brighton - who is believed to be Dougall's partner - is still taking place. He is alleged to have collected cocaine from Sandiford.
Human rights charity Reprieve said Sandiford had been "targeted by drug traffickers who exploited her vulnerability and made threats against her children".
Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the world.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "We can confirm that a British national is facing the death penalty in Indonesia. We remain in close contact with that national and continue to provide consular assistance.
"The UK remains strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances."
A former colleague of Lindsay Sandiford yesterday (Tues) said the drug mule should have "expected the consequences" of flouting Bali's strict laws.
Maria Swift, 47, who worked with Sandiford 10 years ago, said her ex boss would have been well aware of the risks she was taking.
She said: "When you go into these countries it does state that the importation of drugs is punishable by death and she should have seen it, she's not a stupid woman, she would have known.
"I'm a firm believer that the law is the law and it is there for a reason, this is the ultimate punishment and she should and would have known that could have happened to her.
"I do feel sorry for her though because no one should be sentenced to death, but she got caught and she should have expected the consequences to come with it."
Mum-of-seven Maria, of Cheltenham, worked for Sandiford as a secretary at DTS Legal in the town.
She said she believed Sandiford's excuse of blackmail was not the true reason she had imported the drugs.
"She was close to her children and she would have done anything for them, this will obviously come as a big shock to them," she said.
"If I'm honest I don't really think that her excuse of blackmail was the real reason she did it.
"She would always use her boy's race as a reason people disliked or complained about her children, she could never see that they were just naughty.
"It is a card she always played because they were coloured but as her friend I always used to tell her the truth, and sometimes it hurt.
"Somebody had to tell her at times exactly what reality was, she often lost sight of it."
Neighbours on the quiet street in Cheltenham where Sandiford lived were surprised to learn of her fate.
One resident said: "She wasn't a nice person. She caused a lot of trouble when she lived here, her and her sons.
"She definitely wasn't a normal housewife.
"I don't know why she got herself into that situation, with all those drugs, but she's broken the law and has to pay the penalty, I suppose."
Another neighbour, who lived on the street at the same time as Sandiford, said her house was always disorganised, with a rubbish-strewn front garden.
He said: "There were never any curtains in the window, and then this one time there was a blooming great hole in the front window.
"It struck me as a not very happy house, if you know what I mean. It's what I would call 'disorganised.'
"There were always people coming round and I saw the police parked outside a few times."
Passing comment on her crimes and sentencing, the neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she must have known the risks involved in trafficking drugs in South East Asia.
He added: "At the end of the day, she probably knew what the risks were to what she was doing.
"We all know what the risks are.
"I do not understand the principle of their justice operation, to give a death penalty to someone who co-operated fully with their inquiries, or so I'm led to believe.
"She put her hands up and co-operated to implicated others and still she is getting the death penalty.
"It seems a bit illogical to me, but they do seem to have a zero-tolerance policy on drugs.
"Still, the sentence was a bit of a shock.
"I don't suppose they'll execute her though - I reckon her sentence will be reduced on appeal."
For more on this story see Wednesday's Gloucestershire Echo and The Citizen.