A woman who met a prison inmate via social media has ended up behind bars herself, after being persuaded to smuggle high value contraband into jail.
Leicester Crown Court was told that 29-year-old Fartun Maxmed-Bare, had no idea the man was a prisoner when they made contact online, via the Snapchat app.
It was only later that he confessed he was in jail.
Maxmed-Bare, a mature student with plans for a career in counselling, “foolishly agreed” to sneak in a package during a visit at HMP Gartree, near Market Harborough, on Tuesday January 12.
Elizabeth Dodds, prosecuting, said the defendant went through security at 3pm but aroused suspicions of prison staff during a 26-minute visit with the inmate.
She added: “The defendant was looking around at the staff.
“She stood up to embrace the inmate which lasted about 15 seconds.”
The defendant had her arms around his upper body whilst he was rummaging around the front of her trousers, during what was a “suspected transfer.”
Miss Dodds said: “The prisoner put up a struggle when guards tried to search him and he threw a package across the visiting area.
“It contained 27.8 grams of heroin, 46.04 grams of cannabis, 1.3 grams of an “unknown substance,” 48.27 grams of tobacco and five mobile phone SIM cards.”
The prosecutor added: “The value of drugs increases massively in prison, about tenfold, and these were estimated to have a potential value of £19,700.”
When detained and questioned, Maxmed-Bare said she was under pressure by the inmate who was a “sort of friend”.
The defendant, of Mortlake Road, Ilford, Redbridge, Greater London, admitted three counts of conveying prohibited articles into prison.
Judge Mark Watson said: “Smuggling contraband into prison is extremely serious.
“Prison officers have a difficult enough job without dealing with those affected by drugs or those protecting the drugs they are keeping.
“Only immediate custody can be justified.”
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The judge said he accepted Maxmed-Bare had no previous convictions and that “extremely positive references” spoke highly of her “work ethic, kindness and generosity.”
He added: “I know very little about the man you visited, except that he was in prison, but I’m prepared to accept there was emotional pressure.”
Vasanti Vaitha, mitigating, said: “She met this male in 2019 through Snapchat and made a friendship, having no idea he was in custody and had never previously known anyone in prison.
“She was quite naive and when he eventually told her he was in prison she tried to stop the friendship, but struggled to do so.
“She was foolish enough to agree to his request.
“She’s now living with the shame and guilt.”
Miss Vaitha said that following arrest, the defendant left university, where she was studying psychology and social science, with a view to qualifying as a counsellor. She also gave up her job, was living alone and reliant on benefits.
“She’s petrified of going into custody.”
Maxmed-Bare was jailed for 20 months.