The Independent London Newspaper


Woman is jailed after trying to smuggle a knife and drugs into Pentonville prison

Dave Todd, Prison Officers Association representative for London and Kent. Right

Dave Todd, Prison Officers Association representative for London and Kent. Right: Sharne Kiely

Published: 3 February, 2017

A PRISON officers’ union has welcomed the jailing of a woman who was caught trying to smuggle a knife, drugs and mobile phones into Pentonville.

Sharne Kiely, 44, from Poplar, east London, was caught by police officers trying to attach a black satchel to a line hanging over the perimeter wall of the Caledonian Road jail in June. The bag was searched and 78g of cannabis was found, as well as a number of mobile phones and a knife.

Kiely was jailed for 16 months after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiring to convey articles into prison and one count of possessing a knife at Blackfriars Crown Court last Monday.

The prison has been blighted by people smuggling drugs and weapons inside and the conviction comes after numerous damning reports from the prisons inspectorate detailing a huge rise in violent incidents, drugs being freely available, overcrowding and a chronic lack of staff.

Commenting on the case, Dave Todd, Prison Officers Association representative for London and Kent, said: “Officers would welcome people [in cases like this] are prosecuted because her actions are making the prison a dangerous place.”

He added: “Passage [of contraband] over the walls are quite common, passes on visits are common, drones are common. There’s a multitude of reasons why some may do that – criminality, greed, or they are under pressure from prisoners within who are pressurising their family members. 

“I could not comment on this case but sometimes it’s not as simple, there are pressures from criminal groups to do like things like that.”

In October, inmate Jamal Mahmoud, 21, was stabbed to death with a hunting-style knife in the prison. Around half of the 200 prison officers at the jail then passed a vote of no confidence in governor Kevin Reilly. 

But according to Mr Todd the situation has improved.

“He [the governor] is listening and working collaboratively with the local branch to make it a safer place,” he said.

“They have curtailed parts of the regime. The staffing is not much better than it was because recruitment and retention is still a massive issue.”

Detective Constable Chris De Asha, the officer in Kiely’s case, said: “Kiely’s conviction and sentence demonstrates the ongoing police work to stop the flow of drugs, mobile phones and knives into prisons. 

“Anyone caught smuggling prohibited items into prison will be arrested and prosecuted.”


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