Grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, who grew up in Bridlington, loses appeal against death sentence

Lindsay Sandiford (PA)
Lindsay Sandiford (PA)

A grandmother who grew up in Bridlington is facing execution by firing squad after losing her appeal against a death sentence for drug smuggling in Bali.

Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was sentenced to death in January after being convicted of smuggling £1.6 million worth of cocaine.

She lodged an appeal against the decision but it has been announced this week that a court in Bali has rejected it and upheld the original sentence.

Sandiford, whose maiden name was Rhodes, spent part of her childhood and teenage years in Bridlington where she attended Headlands School and lived in the Brett Street area of the town.

The Government has said it is disappointed that Sandiford, who was most recently living in Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire, has lost her appeal.

The Foreign Office also reiterated the UK’s opposition to the death penalty and said it had repeatedly made representations to the Indonesian government about this case.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are disappointed to hear that Lindsay Sandiford’s appeal has been refused by the High Court in Bail.

“The UK strongly opposes the death penalty and has repeatedly made representations to the Indonesian government on this matter.

“We will continue to provide consular assistance at this difficult time.”

The court spokesman in Bali said the verdict was decided last week and Sandiford has 14 days to appeal to the national Supreme Court.

Sandiford, who is originally from Redcar, Teesside, was arrested in May when 8.4lb (3.8kg) of cocaine were discovered in her luggage at Bali’s airport.

She previously told the court that she only became involved in the smuggling because “the lives of my children were in danger”.

Four other defendants, three Britons and an Indian national, were sentenced to jail terms ranging from one to six years.

When the death sentence was first delivered, the judges said Sandiford had damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination and weakened the government’s anti-drugs programme.

As it was read out, there were gasps of surprise in Denpasar District Court as not even the prosecution had been seeking the death penalty.

In her witness statement, Sandiford said: “I would like to begin by apologising to the Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesian people for my involvement.

“I would never have become involved in something like this but the lives of my children were in danger and I felt I had to protect them.”

During the trial, her lawyer read out a statement from her son which said: “I love my mother very much and have a very close relationship with her.

“I know that she would do anything to protect me. I cannot imagine what I would do if she was sentenced to death in relation to these charges.”

Human rights organisation Reprieve has previously said it believes there is evidence to show that Sandiford was threatened and coerced into acting as a courier.

Indonesia has an estimated 114 prisoners on death row. Most of the more than 40 foreigners among them have been convicted of drug crimes, according to a March 2012 report by Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy.

Five foreigners have been executed since 1998, all for drug crimes, according to the institute. There have been no executions in the country since 2008, when 10 people were put to death.