British mother facing death over Bali drug haul a 'party girl'


Linsay June Sandiford of Britain covers her face as customs personnel display evidence at a customs office in Denpasar on Bali island on May 28, 2012.



A British mother, 55, who faces death by firing squad if convicted of smuggling 11 pounds of cocaine into Indonesia, has been described as a "party girl" and "neighbor from hell."

Lindsay Sandiford, a former legal costs secretary, was allegedly caught with the drug stuffed in the lining of her suitcase at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport May 19, according to the Fairfax media.

The cocaine has a street value of more than 23 billion rupiah ($2.5 million) and under Indonesia's tough trafficking laws, Sandiford — who airport customs chief I Made Wijaya said claimed to be a housewife — faces the death penalty if convicted.

She had flown in on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok and, upon being arrested, agreed to take part in a "sting" operation that netted four other suspected drug couriers, including three other Britons and an Indian.

According to Australia's ABC, Indonesian police monitored Sandiford for over a week as she stayed in a hotel in Ahmed, on the eastern part of the resort island, apparently on the orders of another British woman, also later arrested.

More from GlobalPost: Indonesia: Four Britons may face firing squad over drug haul (VIDEO)

The head of Bali's narcotics police, Mulyadi, said a British man who allegedly collected cocaine from Sandiford at the hotel was also arrested, while police seized 3.36 grams of hashish from a second British man, and 78 plastic satchels containing what police suspect are ecstasy pills from the Indian national.  

Sandiford is believed to have told Indonesian police that she only agreed to smuggle the drugs because her two sons, aged 22 and 24, were being threatened at home in England, London's Daily Telegraph reported

The newspaper quoted a neighbor of Sandiford's from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire as saying she would regularly host late-night parties. 

However, a purported family friend said he would never have expected her to become involved in drug smuggling.

"I was very shocked when I found out," the friend said.

"She was always a party girl but I didn't think she was capable of this."