Pregnant mum Naomi Thriepland jailed after importing heroin
A brave soldier who tackled IEDs in Afghanistan used her
seven-year-old child as a cover to smuggle heroin into Kent.
Ex-squaddie Naomi Thriepland, 25, drove a black BMW convertible
stashed with £170,000 of drugs into Folkestone – with her
child by her side.
She told customs officials she was returning from a trip to
take her daughter to Disneyland, in Paris, in December 2011.
But the truth was Thriepland, pictured left, had been
to Amsterdam to load up with 3.44 kilos of heroin and another 12
kilos of cutting agents.
The drugs were hidden inside the expensive car's soft top when
the mother, who lives in Cumbria, stayed at a hotel.
Thriepland, who admitted drug smuggling, claimed it was the
first time she had been a courier – but investigators discovered
the same BMW had been driven to the continent TWICE before.
And despite being four months' pregnant, she was jailed for four
years at Canterbury Crown Court.
The ex-soldier – who quit to spend more time with her daughter
and to train as a beauty therapist - sat stony-faced as the
prosecution told of her deception.
But she broke down when a judge praised her service to Britain
for her service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A probe into Thriepland's financial dealings revealed that
despite claiming to be paid just £7-an-hour for a 15-hour weekly
job, £10,500 had been transferred into her bank account.
Drugs smuggler Naomi
Thriepland was caught with heroin and cutting agents
Her barrister Christopher Baur said she agreed to be paid £8,000
for the drugs run, but hadn not acted in "malice or wickedness, but
rather stupidity and with an element of greed".
"The situation she finds herself in is dire because she wasn't
coerced into it, but neither was she a major player in the
enterprise. She did it to better conditions for her child," he
He said Thriepland, who served in the Army for six years
including with bomb disposal teams in Afghanistan, denied making
previous drugs runs to Europe – but admitted one of the trips a
month earlier had been a "dummy run".
Judge Heather Norton told her: "You made that trip in order to
plan the drug smuggling run – and you did what you did for
"More than that, you took your seven-year-old child with you as
some kind of family cover - putting that child at risk. You claim
you became a courier to give her a better life, but that child is
now likely to suffer more than you.
"You have served this country with a number of tours in Iraq and
Afghanistan and in perilous positions; so whatever else can be said
about you, this was certainly out of character."
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