A HEADINGTON grandmother caught smuggling £51,000 worth of cannabis through Gatwick has been jailed for two years.
Margaret Simms, 57, of Peat Moors, denied bringing 17 kilos of the drug into the UK from Jamaica in November last year, but was convicted by a jury of importation at a previous hearing and then sentenced yesterday.
She had flown to the Caribbean to visit her Jamaican husband Sean Simms, who she married in 2008, and Inner London Crown Court heard that she insists she was acting under duress.
As he put her behind bars, Recorder Karl King said: “It is unfortunately my job to sentence you for this offences.
“As you will appreciate it is solely from your commission of this offence, your conscious decision to participate in this offence that brings you here. I have come to the conclusion you were an active participant and have concocted a story to deflect your role.
“There is not any sense of regret or remorse on your part.”
She told the jury she had been a victim of threats and duress made by security guards at her hotel.
Initially she thought they were joking, she claimed, but Simms then told the jury that the day before she was due to return to the UK they gave her instructions to collect a suitcase when she landed at Gatwick.
But the suitcase had already been identified by Border Force officers as containing drugs.
Prosecutor Francis Gaskin said: “The evidence heard in total about her role came from the defendant and must have been disbelieved by the jury. There is no credible evidence of threats or pressure. The prosecution say she knew exactly what she was doing and was motivated by financial gain.”
But Simms’ lawyer said there was no evidence of financial gain or a “criminal lifestyle”.
Carole Upshall, Border Force South director, said: “This seizure was an excellent example of that work, and my officers have prevented a substantial amount of cannabis from making it on to our streets.
“Working with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency we are determined to do all we can to stop traffickers and the criminal networks involved in drug smuggling.”