Ryedale mum sentenced for smuggling heroin into murderer son’s jail

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The mother of the vicious killer of a Yorkshire antiques dealer was today also behind bars for smuggling heroin into her son’s top security jail.

Respectable charity worker and NHS volunteer Janet Richardson had her life “destroyed” by her son Graham who was “still pulling her strings” from his cell, Durham Crown Court heard.

But ‎jailing her for a year, Judge Christopher Prince said he had to make an example to stop the flow of drugs disrupting prison life.

Richardson, 54, of Birch View Pickering, North Yorkshire, had concealed the heroin and other drugs in her clothing and bra before entering Durham’s Frankland Prison.

Her son Graham, 27, formerly of Riverside View, Norton, North Yorkshire, is serving life ‎ in the maximum security jail for murdering former York businessman Peter Battle.

Mr Battle’s battered body was found at his cottage at Full Sutton, near Pocklington, in February 2013‎. The 56-year-old had been dead for five weeks, during which his killer had returned repeatedly to steal his gold and antiques.

‎Graham Richardson was convicted of what a judge called a “callous and despicable” murder and ordered to be detained for a minimum 27 years in December 2013.

On Thursday 28 August this year she went to the prison to visit him after hearing he had been receiving threats from other inmates.

Prosecutor Deborah Smithies said: “She was searched on entry in the usual way. She was asked if she was carrying any unauthorised items and said she was not.

“She proceeded to the visit room. During the visit, the defendant was seen by prison staff to go over to the waste bin on two occasions.

“Staff were monitoring CCTV covering the visit area. On the second occasion, she was seen to put her hand into her bra and remove something over the bin.

“She fished this item out and handed it to her son. The prison officers in the visit room were alerted and intervened and took from Graham Richardson’s hand a white wrap containing 24 white tablets each wrapped in cling film and purple sweet wrappers.”

She was arrested and taken to Durham police station where she was searched in the charge room, she added.

A further wrapper fell from her clothing similar to the others. She also handed over from her bra a blue balloon containing 4.39 grams of heroin.

The wraps were analysed and proved to be, a class C Drug, the addiction medicine buprenorphine.‎ Cannabis was also found.

The court heard Ms Richardson had lost her job due to the pressures of her son’s trial but volunteered for the NHS giving advice to trainees and also worked in an Age Concern shop.

Maria Temkow, mitigating, said the son’s murder conviction had “destroyed” the mother’s life and she was still suffering depression.

Miss Temkow continued: “The defence submit she is another victim of her son’s behaviour.

“Here is a lady whose life has been blighted by her son and he is still - to some extent - pulling the strings.

“‎‎Her son put pressure on her, which he accepts, to bring these articles in.

“He threatened suicide and not to speak to her. Due to a certain amount of guilt about what had happened in his life she agreed to do so.

“‎She was emotionally blackmailed.” The prison authorities had banned her from visiting her son for the past six months because of what had happened.

“She feels she has been punished by not being able to see her only child,” Miss Temkow continued.

But Judge Prince said: “This is a significant quantity of a Class A drug, particularly to be taken into a prison.

“We know that drugs in prisons have ‎particularly high value and cause serious problems. This is one of the highest security prisons in the country.

“You entered that prison in full knowledge you should not take such items in.

“Taking drugs into prison is a most serious offence. It creates a danger to those within the prison quite apart from the harm it can cause to those who use the drugs.

“It interferes with the ordinary workings of prison life and renders the prison a less safe environment both for staff and those serving sentences.

“People must be deterred from taking drugs into prison.

“I’m not willing to suspend your sentence. In circumstances such as this, there must be a deterrent sentence.

“Were‎ I to suspend that sentence on you it would not deter other people behaving as you did”

Richardson, who pleaded guilty was given concurrent sentences of 12 months for three offences of possessing drugs with intent to supply and one of supplying drugs.

She showed no emotion as she was led away to custody.‎ Half the sentence will be served in custody and the rest under licence.