Ex parent governor and mum-of-five smuggled drugs into prison

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A FORMER parent governor who smuggled drugs into a Lancashire prison has been spared jail.

Preston Crown Court heard how single mum-of-five Claire Banjo, 39, struggled to cope after her marriage ended and her husband returned to Nigeria – taking their youngest child with him.

Banjo, who was on the committee at Armitage School, Gorton, spiralled into depression and when she failed to turn up at her JobCentre appointments, her benefits were sanctioned.

Recorder Mark Laprell, sentencing, said: “You were an active contributor to society rather than someone whose conduct impedes the functioning of society.

“It appears the breakdown of your relationship and the pressures that placed upon you in terms of caring for the children and funding the home caused a downward spiral in all aspects of your life - not just in caring for your children but in your willingness to get involved in something I’m quite sure three or four years earlier you wouldn’t have done.”

In March Banjo accepted an offer of £200 to carry cannabis resin and subutex into HMP Wymott, Leyland, and was given a visiting order for an inmate she had never met.

But when she arrived at the jail her nerves got the better of her and she dropped the package on the floor – where it was spotted by a prison guard.

The parcel was found to contain 17.7g of cannabis, 27.5g of cannabis resin and five subutex tablets, with a combined street value of £500 - although prison prices are several times higher.

Banjo admitted what she was doing.

The judge handed her a 10 month sentence, suspended for two years and ordered her to carry out 15 hours of rehabilitation.