A young mother who was “forced” by her boyfriend to take dealing quantities of heroin to Shetland has been jailed for 28 months.
Lisa Kerry Main, 24, of Aberdeen, had been threatened with violence if she did not comply with the orders of her violent partner by taking the Class A drug to Shetland from Wolverhampton.
Police discovered her along with two other people in a house in Leslie Road on 12th April last year. She was found with 26.51 grammes of 31 per cent pure heroin with a potential street value of £3,640.
Police also found she had over £2,000 in cash – money she had originally claimed was needed to help her escape her partner.
Main originally appeared in the dock in private two days after she was found out. Sentence was deferred for reports last November and Main, who in the meantime had become pregnant, was released on bail. However she failed to appear in the dock on two separate occasions after suffering a miscarriage.
In the meantime the court heard Main’s partner is currently on remand in Aberdeen after seeking her out and threatening her as recently as last week.
Defence agent Ian McGregor said police on the mainland had been concerned enough about Main’s safety they had recommended she be placed in a protective refuge.
“Should it be the case she is fortunate enough to have her liberty today the plan would be to have her removed to a rural location where she would be outwith the reaches of the individual concerned.”
He said she had abided by a “sign on” condition which she agreed to before being released on bail, with no other matters arising since her appearance on petition.
He added Main had “very quickly come under the influence” of her partner who forced her and her three-year-old daughter to move with him from Aberdeen to Wolverhampton.
“There were certain threats made and in light of these threats she co-operated with him and travelled [back up] to Aberdeen,” said the agent.
The court heard the threats continued once the couple had moved down south, and he ordered she “essentially act as a courier” by taking the heroin up to Shetland.
Having been detained by police Main repeatedly responded to questions concerning the offence with “no comment” remarks. Mr McGregor said her partner had warned her to “keep her mouth shut” if caught by police.
“In fairness the evidence was there,” he said. “There was nothing that could have been added by her that would have assisted the police.”
Challenged by Sheriff Graeme Napier, he admitted Main would have had the opportunity during the course of her journey north to contact the police, but said Main was “quite simply terrified” of the consequences if she failed to carry out his orders.
He urged Sheriff Napier to consider an alternative to custody, adding that Main could face yet more threats of violence from her partner’s prison contacts if she was being kept behind bars.
“If she is to receive a custodial sentence she will not be beyond the reach of this man,” he said.
He added Main was “not a stupid individual” and had secured three Higher grades at school, but she was an extremely “vulnerable individual” and the circumstances surrounding the case were unusual.
Sheriff Napier said Main had been “naive about her role” in the venture and had “minimised” it by telling herself she was only delivering the drugs and not directly supplying them.
He described her claim at a previous hearing that she had been kidnapped by her partner when they went to Wolverhampton as her “spin” on the circumstances of the move.
He told her: “The only way I can deal with this matter is by way of a custodial sentence.”
The court heard a starting off point for sentencing would be four years, but Sheriff Napier took Main’s circumstances into account and reduced the sentence to 28 months.