Cheltenham News Drug-smuggling British gran facing death penalty in Bali ‘just wants to die’

Cheltenham News Drug-smuggling British gran facing death penalty in Bali ‘just wants to die’

Cheltenham News

A British gran who faces being shot for drug smuggling now just wants to die, according to a notorious killer she befriended in jail.

Lindsay Sandiford, 62, has spent six long years on death row after being caught with a £1.6million haul of cocaine in Indonesia.

She has busied herself by knitting items to sell to raise cash for her legal appeals – and has even taught the gentle craft to other inmates crammed in the sweltering prison.

However now she is said to have become increasingly withdrawn and told pals, including US “suitcase murder” inmate Heather Mack, 23, she has had enough.

Friends believe she is now resigned to the long-delayed ­execution by firing squad going ahead – and are fearful about what might happen if it does not.

Cheltenham News

Lindsay Sandiford in 2012 being presented to the media in Bali

Mack said Sandiford – who she claimed developed “maternal ­feelings” for her inside Bali’s Kerobokan Prison – has become more and more reclusive.

She told the Sunday Mirror: “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. She has said she wants to die.”

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

Cheltenham News

Heather Mack revealed what Sandiford’s experience behind bars has been like

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

“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.”

Sandiford, originally from Redcar, near Middlesbrough, was sentenced to death in 2013 for smuggling 10.6lb of cocaine from Thailand.

After being caught with the drugs in a secret compartment in her suitcase flying from Bangkok to the holiday island of Bali, she claimed she had been forced to carry them by a UK gang which threatened the life of one of her sons.

The former legal secretary, who had previously lived in Cheltenham, Glos, was banged up in infamous Kerobokan – known locally as Hotel K.

Cheltenham News

Kerobokan prison in Bali is notorious for its poor conditions

It was there that she was to become friends with Chicago-born Mack, who was jailed in 2015 for helping her boyfriend murder her millionaire mother.

The horrific case saw Mack and Tommy Schaefer, 27, bludgeon Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, to death at a five-star Bali hotel.

The pair wrapped Sheila’s body in tape, stuffed it in a suitcase and tried to flee the island.

After their arrest they claimed they had been acting in self-defence because Sheila had flown into a rage at finding out that Mack, who was then just 18, was pregnant.

Despite their legal arguments, Mack was sentenced to 10 years and Schaefer to 18.

Mack said she and Sandiford quickly bonded in prison because both were English-speaking foreigners.

And the young American said the British grandmother began to feel maternal towards her and her baby daughter Stella, now four, who has since been moved outside the jail.

Cheltenham News

Lindsay Sandiford is said to now be resigned to her fate

Mack said: “When I first got here Lindsay was just like any of the other women prisoners.

“She would mix well and was ­talkative, even though she was sentenced to death. She got to know my baby because I had her with me until she was two years old.

“Lindsay was one of the women who would help me take care of her.”

But things took a turn for the worse when Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two members of a group of convicted Australian drug runners known as the Bali Nine, were taken off and killed.

Mack went on: “Lindsay couldn’t believe it when Andrew and Myuran were killed.

“They were the nicest guys. They would do anything for anyone.”

Sandiford began to live in constant dread that she would be next to suffer the same fate as the two Australians at Nusa Kambangan, a feared offshore prison complex known as Execution Island.

Cheltenham News

Sandiford has taught other prisoners to make toys

To keep her mind occupied she ran knitting classes and taught 20 inmates to make teddy bears, jumpers, shawls, and other items to send to church groups in Australia.

She even set up a knitting venture from behind bars to fund her appeal against the death penalty, raising £7,000 to add to more than £30,000 donated by wellwishers on the outside.

But money has since drained away and Sandiford has now abandoned her final attempts at mounting a legal battle to evade execution.

Earlier this year she said: “My attitude is, ‘If you want to shoot me, shoot me. Get on with it.’

“It won’t be a hard thing for me to face any more. It’s not a death I would choose but then again I wouldn’t choose dying in agony from cancer.

“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.”

Cheltenham News

Bali is a popular holiday destination but it’s human rights record is horrifying

Mack said Sandiford now shunned the company of other prisoners, despite sharing a cell with 22 women, and tried her best to be alone as much as possible.

She added: “Her family used to visit, but they haven’t been here for a long time and I hear she doesn’t get any help from the British consulate either.

“All the women in Kerobokan look out for one another, but Lindsay is now an exception She has resigned herself to her fate.”

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