Woman tried smuggling phone into Horfield Prison, Bristol
A WOMAN from Knowle faces jail after she tried to smuggle a mobile phone to her partner in prison.
Michelle Baker was caught with the phone wrapped in cling film after she was seen acting suspiciously when she visited Horfield Prison on February 6.
Bristol Magistrates' Court heard that Baker, 38, from Berners Close, Inns Court, went to the prison to visit another inmate and had received a request from her partner to bring a phone in for him.
As she waited to go through to the visiting area she was spotted acting in a furtive manner, taking a long time in the toilet and frequently adjusting her clothes, arousing the suspicions of prison staff.
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Baker was patted down and a dog handler indicated there was a reason for her to be searched. She agreed, but refused to remove her clothing for a full search. She eventually shook her right leg, and a mobile phone wrapped in cling film fell out of her trousers. Asked why she had it, she told police she had forgotten to take it from her pocket and did not know why it was wrapped in cling film.
Adamant that it was an honest mistake she later admitted doing it on purpose, and that she knew she should not have had it with her as she had been warned after taking one into prison by accident before. Yesterday she pleaded guilty to taking a prohibited item into prison.
Defending, Jane Taylor told the court Baker had had an "immensely difficult and tragic life", largely due to the behaviour of her partner, a man who has been in and out of prison for the last five years.
Ms Taylor said: "She has sustained very traumatic abuse from him over the last five years, and he is currently serving (time) for a vicious attack on her where he broke her nose.
"She has been beaten so badly in the past that she has suffered serious injuries and developed epilepsy, suffers from depression and has attempted suicide in the past."
Ms Taylor said Baker was visiting someone else at the time, and that she "stupidly" agreed to take the phone in for her "manipulative and controlling" partner.
Baker, who is due to become a grandmother in July, had her case adjourned until March 26 for a pre-sentence report. She narrowly avoided sentencing at Bristol Crown Court, where she could have been jailed for up to two years, and instead will face up to six months.
The crime is regarded as being so serious because of the potential for organising crime or intimidating witnesses from prison.