Cardiff mother smuggled drugs into prison to protect her son 'at all costs'

The court heard Nicola Hexter was caught after a prison sniffer dog detected she was carrying drugs. Credit: Media Wales

A mother was caught trying to smuggle drugs into prison in what she said was an effort to protect her son.

Nicola Hexter, 42, from Cardiff, said she had been forced to act as a mule after threats were made against her son in prison.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Hexter had hidden 24 grams of synthetic drugs under her clothing, as well as five mobile phone sim cards, as she attempted to get into HMP Parc near Bridgend.

Although security staff found nothing when they searched her clothing, Hexter was caught after a sniffer dog detected the contraband.

Police also found a small amount of amphetamine when they searched the defendant's home, the court heard. Credit: Media Wales

When a sniffer dog sat down in front of the defendant - an indication she was carrying drugs - she was taken into a private room and asked if she was carrying any illicit items.

She replied "I was forced," the court heard.

In a subsequent police interview, the defendant said she had received a phone call from a stranger saying unless she brought items into the prison where he son was in custody, something would happen to him.

Hexter, of Broadwell Close, Trowbridge, Cardiff, said on 16 January, the day of the offence, she was collected by a woman in a car and handed a package to take into the Bridgend prison.

In a later search of her home, police found a small amount of amphetamine and several mobile phones wrapped in cling film.

Defending Hexter, Hywel Davies said his client had been acting as "a desperate and scared mother seeking to protect her child at all costs".

Mr Davies added the mother of four was not trying to disrupt prison life but had been pressurised into taking the items into prison.

However, Judge Daniel Williams said drugs had a greater value in prison as a form of "currency" than in the wider community.

He added anyone who tries to take drugs into prison can expect an immediate custodial sentence themselves.

Having pleaded guilty previously to three counts of conveying prohibited items into prison and to the simple possession of amphetamine when she appeared in the dock for sentencing, Hexter was given a one-third discount.

She was sentenced to nine months in prison overall, with six months handed down for conveying offences.

Hexter will serve up to half of the overall sentence in prison before being released on licence to serve the rest of it in the community.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…