Mum who smuggled drugs into Oakwood Prison is 'a decent woman' - judge
A judge described a pregnant mother who smuggled heroin into a prison as a ‘decent woman’ – before jailing her.
Natalie Severn admitted taking 6.92 grams of the drug into Oakwood Prison in Featherstone, near Wolverhampton.
The 31-year-old was jailed for 20 months but this week had her sentence cut to 15 months on appeal.
She gave the drugs, worth at least £280, to her boyfriend, who was in custody at the prison, in June last year.
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Appearing at Stafford Crown Court in April, Severn, of Cromwell Street in Coventry, was put behind bars by His Honour Judge John Gosling.
Mr Gosling described her as a ‘decent woman’, but said she had committed ‘a really serious crime’.
The court heard how a CCTV operator noticed her partner remove an object from her clothing and then put it down his trousers while she was visiting him.
In interview, Severn claimed to have been contacted by an unknown man and told her partner was in debt and asked to take the package into the prison.
She said she feared for her and for her boyfriend’s safety if she did not comply with the demand.
This week, at London’s Appeal Court, the case was heard again as lawyers for Severn argued that her punishment was far too harsh and should have been suspended.
They pointed to her previous good character, being pregnant with a baby due in October and having a three-year-old child.
She is ‘finding it difficult’ in custody with ‘considerable anxiety for her unborn child’, the court was told.
Severn cared for her siblings as a teenager when her mother was terminally ill and had also been looking after her partner’s sick grandmother, the court heard.
Taking drugs into prison is ‘an offence of exceptional gravity’ meriting immediate imprisonment, said Sir Brian Leveson, who was sitting with two other judges.
“If that is not the case then the greater will be the pressure on the weak and the vulnerable to take drugs into prison and deliberately contribute to the disorder, which results from the misuse of drugs in custodial institutions.”
But he added: “Although an immediate custodial sentence was inevitable, it need not have been as long as 20 months.”