Mother of murderer smuggled drugs to him in prison hidden in Kinder Egg
PUBLISHED: 07:48 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:58 02 October 2019
The mother of murderer Steven Butcher has been jailed after being caught smuggling drugs to her son in prison concealed in a Kinder Egg.
Leila Butcher claimed she was coerced to smuggle in the illicit items after receiving a threatening letter to her home, made from letters cut and pasted from a magazine.
Norwich Crown Court heard Butcher, 44, was stopped by drug dogs in the toilets of HMP Norwich when she went to visit her son on November 29 last year.
Her son, 24-year-old Steven Butcher, was on remand at the prison having been arrested in July on suspicion of murdering 28-year-old father and love rival Scott Tarrant.
He stabbed Mr Tarrant nine times on July 7 after a long standing feud between the pair, and in January was jailed for life.
Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said Butcher had been caught with seven tablets of diazepam and some cannabis in a Kinder Egg container, which had been "secreted in her backside".
She also had two mobile phones hidden in a sock and a pouch of tobacco in her pocket.
Butcher admitted two counts of conveying a prohibited article, and was jailed for 20 weeks on Tuesday.
"Upon arrival [Butcher] went to the toilet and of course there are drugs dogs there," said Mr Jackson. "There was a positive indication and tobacco was found in her pocket.
"She was taken to Wymondham PIC under arrest and strip-searched. The drugs were found secreted in her backside which had plainly caused her some distress."
Butcher refused to answer questions in interview, but provided a basis of plea to the court that she acted the way she did under "pressure and intimidation".
She said she had received a parcel through the letterbox along with a "threatening letter".
It said: 'get this to your son or else'.
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Giving evidence on Tuesday, Butcher said she had received the package a week before visiting her son.
"I had been getting threatened on social media and hate mail getting put through the door," she said.
"My house had been bombarded with flour and eggs and I was scared."
She said she believed Steven was also being "bullied" in prison, and when she received the letter she "panicked".
"I was scared and didn't know what else to do," she said. "I just wish I did so many things differently. I thought I would keep quiet and try to deal with it myself."
Andrew Thompson, mitigating for Butcher, said she had made a "grave misjudgement".
"She pretty much lived an isolated existence during the currency of her son's proceedings," he said.
"There is exceptional circumstances and pressure she was under, of various sorts, during the period of this offence."
But as Butcher had not told police in interview about the letter, which was only later produced to her solicitors, Judge Katharine Moore said she was "troubled" by the mitigation.
"This letter never found its way to the police, it has not been examined and you didn't at any stage mention to the police these threats," she said.
"I am unable to accept you were acting under a direct threat."
But she accepted Butcher had been experiencing "challenging times" after her son's arrest.
"It is clear you committed these offences at a time when your judgement was severely impaired."
Since the incident Butcher, of Hawthorne Avenue, Lowestoft, has been banned from visiting her son in custody.
She was jailed for 20 weeks and the items seized will be forfeit and destroyed.