A drugs mule who changed her story three times when police arrested her, had more than £8,300 worth of heroin concealed in her body.
Sharon Marie Kirk was intercepted by police acting on a tip off, when she disembarked from the 6.15pm sailing from Heysham on February 17.
Linda Watts, for the prosecution, said suspicions were aroused when the 40-year-old booked the crossing for cash just moments before departure.
Held by police at the Sea Terminal, she said she was called Louise Johnson and was coming to visit her sister-in-law ‘two minutes down the road’ in Peel.
She couldn’t say how long she was planning to stay, she had no bank card and just £2.70 in cash. She had no formal identification on her and when asked how she planned to fund her stay, she said a family member would transfer money to her sister-in-law.
When she was searched, a letter was found in her real name of Sharon Kirk, and her story changed again.
This time she told police she gave a false name because she was having an affair with a married man in the Isle of Man. She was arrested on suspicion of bringing drugs to the island and possessing them with intent to supply.
An x-ray at Noble’s Hospital revealed three packages ‘concealed internally’, Mrs Watts said.
However, despite the x-ray evidence, Kirk continued to deny having any drugs and said the x-ray was ‘wrong’.
But when told she must remain in hospital until the situation was resolved, she spontaneously produced three packages and was taken to the police station. There, she admitted bringing packages to the island but said she did not know what they contained. She told police she had been threatened and this would be backed up by text evidence on her telephone. No such evidence was found.
The total quantity of heroin was just over 83 grammes, worth £8,308. She admitted offences of bringing heroin to the Isle of Man and possessing it with intent to supply.
Defending Kirk, who comes from Ashbank Road, Norris Green in Liverpool, Peter Russell said his client had been taken advantage of.
‘Clearly she made the wrong decision, but hindsight is a wonderful thing,’ he said.
‘This is a lady who is normally a law-abiding citizen. She is vulnerable and was exploited.’
Passing sentence, Deemster Alastair Montgomerie said it had been a ‘catastrophic decision’ for someone of previous good character and he was keeping the sentence as short as possible.
She received five years’ custody, concurrent on each offence. A forfeiture and destruction order was made for the heroin. She is excluded from the island for five years.