Brit drug smuggling gran’s final wish as she waits for death in Bali

For seven long years British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford has been locked up in jail on the paradise island of Bali.

In 2013 she was found with £1.6million of cocaine in her suitcase, which she was trying to smuggle into Indonesia.

The punishment in Indonesia is brutal – most drug smuglers and dealers are sentenced to death.

And the execution method is terrifying – firing squad.

Prisoners are led to a grassy area where they can choose to sit or stand before armed soldiers then take their shots, aiming for the heart.

But if a prisoner surivives the firing squad, the commader must then shoot them in the head.


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Indonesia carries out executions infrequently with most prisoners waiting on death row for more than 10 years.

The last death penalties carried out in Indonesia took place in 2015 and 130 people, including Lindsay Sandiford, are waiting to be executed.

Former legal secretary Sandiford, from Redcar in the North East, had worked in management for many years at a law firm in Cheltenham.

She rented a house in the town but was evicted when she didn't pay her rent.

The mum-of-two, who had separated from her husband, made the decision to move to India in 2012.


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It was as she arrived in Bali from Bangkok in Thailand on May 19, 2012, that she was arrested after the huge haul of cocaine was found in her luggage.

Sandiford insisted she had been forced to carry the Class A drugs by a criminal gang, who had threatened to hurt her family if she refused.

However, the gran dramatically changed her story when she was told she would receive the death penalty if she was convicted of drug trafficking.

She broke down and told officers that she had been asked to carry the drugs by an antiques dealer, Julian Ponder, who was British and living in Bali, and his partner Rachel Dougall.

Sandiford even agreed to take part in a police sting to catch the pair, along with a third person, Paul Beales.


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Ponder's home was searched and both he and Sandiford were charged with drug trafficking.

There was no evidence linking Dougall and Beales to the same crime and they were charged with lesser offences.

Sandiford's legal team argued that she had been pressured into carrying the drugs and had suffered from mental health problems.

Their pleas fell on deaf ears and she was convicted – although even the prosecution pleaded for her to be jailed for 15 years rather than sentenced to death.

Dougall was found guilty of failing to report a crime and jailed for a year, while Beales was convicted of possessing hashish and locked up for four years.


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Ponder was cleared of drug smuggling but convicted of the possession of narcotics and sentenced to six years behind bars.

Despite the prosecution's pleas, on January 22, 2013, judges sentenced her to death.

Sandiford appealed against the decision but she had no money left to pay for a legal team.

A fundraising campaign managed to raise enough to fly an Indonesian solicitor to Bali but her appeal was dismissed.

Sandiford then appealed to the Indonesian Supreme Court, which was also rejected.

Ever since the gran has been held in Kerobokan Prison, in Bali.


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The jail was built to house just 300 inmates but is currently home to more than 1,400 men and women.

Riots and violence from guards is a regular occurence.

Sandiford spends her time behind bars knitting items, which she then sells to raise funds to pay for her legal appeals.

She has even been teaching other prisoners how to knit.

However, the toll of spending so long on death row is taking its toll on Sandiford, who befriended suitcase killer Heather Mack during her time in prison.

Mack served 10 years for the murder of her mother, who was then stuffed into a suitcase by her boyfriend.

Mack was sentenced to 10 years behind bars while her boyfriend Tommy Schaefer was jailed for 18 in 2015 after they were found guilty of murdering Sheila von Wiese-Mack.


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The killer said Sandiford was becoming increasingly reclusive during her time behind bars.

Mack said: "I am friends with Lindsay but she has been difficult to speak to recently.

“She spends all day pretty much alone in her cell and doesn’t mix so much with the other prisoners.

“She snaps at me for no reason but I still make an effort with her."

Mack said Sandiford was visibly shocked and upset after two other prisoners convicted of drug offences were suddenly taken away and executed.

She said: “They had turned their lives around and were different people to when they were convicted, so everyone thought they would be OK.


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“When Lindsay saw that even they could be taken away and killed, she knew it would be happening to her. That’s when it really, really hit home for her.”

And Mack revealed the pensioner now had only one wish, explaining: "She has said she wants to die."

Facing the prospect of death by firing squad, Lindsay herself said: "It won't be a hard thing for me to face anymore.

"It's not particularly a death I would choose but them again I wouldn't choose dying in agony from cancer either.

"I do feel I can cope with it. But when it happens I don't want my family to come. I don't want any fuss at all. The one thing certain about life is no one gets out alive."

Even thogh she's on death row, Lindsay insists she feels "blessed" because she's witnessed her two sons grow up and met her grandchildren.

She added: "My attitude is 'If you want to shoot me, shoot me. Get on with it'."

Sandiford is believed to still be awaiting execution in Bali.

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