Stonebridge man acquitted of prison smuggling plot, Queen’s Park wife still on trial
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
A man from Stonebridge has been cleared of trying to smuggle contraband including drinks and drugs into a prison while he was a prisoner there.
Jerome Francis, 33, of Hill Top Avenue, was accused of plotting with his wife Pattrina Stevenson-Francis, of Third Avenue, Queen’s Park, to sneak a bag full of banned items into The Mount prison in Hemel Hempstead.
Today at Luton Crown Court he was found not guilty of conspiring to supply a Class A drug, conspiring to supply a drug of Class B and conspiring to convey prohibited items into the jail on the direction of the judge.
However, the case is continuing against Stevenson-Francis.
Jurors heard how prison officers found a carrier bag outside the prison hanging on a tree on April 3 last year.
Inside the bag were plastic bottles containing alcohol, cannabis in the form of skunk, resin and herbal, a small amount of heroin and nine mobile phones. There was also a small amount of a Class B drug, meow meow.
Prosecutor Robin Miric said the bag was “an Aladdin’s cave of goodies,” and the plan had been for someone to throw the bag over the perimeter fence.
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But police were able to trace a receipt found in the bag for one of the mobiles back to Stevenson-Francis.
In the witness box today the mother-of-three told the jury she had bought the phone from a store in Kilburn for a girlfriend who had contacted her earlier and buying and selling mobile phones was something she did.
She said the woman who had asked her about the phone also asked if she could buy some cannabis which she did.
She said: “I asked her why she wanted the phone and she said it was for someone in prison - a prisoner.”
She said having bought the phones she understood her friend would call at her home to collect them and pay her but it was then arranged that a taxi would collect her and take her to meet a man who would collect the phone and the cannabis and pay her.
Stevenson-Francis continues that the she went in the taxi with the man to ensure she would be paid and he left her in the vehicle for around 15 minutes and then came back.
She said she knew nothing about the attempted smuggling.
Stevenson-Francis pleads not guilty to a single charge alleging she was involved in conspiring with others to supply a drug of Class A.