Grandmother jailed for trying to smuggle drugs to Mark Denton murderers in prison

Middleton and Sowerby.
Middleton and Sowerby.

The grandmother of the murderers of boxer Mark Denton has been jailed for trying to smuggle drugs to them in prison.

June Brogden was visiting Anthony Middleton and David Sowerby in Durham Prison when she was found to be carrying a concealed package of buprenoprhine tablets.

Middleton, then 21, and his 24-year-old half-brother Sowerby, are both serving life sentences for the axe murder of Mr Denton, 31, on New Year's Eve, 2013, at a house party in Hartlepool.

"Police were waiting for Brogden when she arrived for the prison visit in February of last year," prosecutor Ian West told Durham Crown Court.

"The drugs were found after an intimate search.

"Brogden was wearing leggings with a hole in the crotch, which the prosecution say was to facilitate the concealment and removal of the drugs."

Brogden, 60, of Glencairn Grove, Owton Manor, Hartlepool, admitted conveying a prohibited article into prison on February 12, last year.

She has a previous conviction in 1997 for supplying class A and B drugs for which she was jailed for three years.

When interviewed by police, Brogden claimed she had been approached by a man outside the prison and told to take the drugs inside.

She later gave another story, claiming two men gave her the drugs as she was leaving home for the visit, telling her to deliver the package to Sowerby and Middleton or 'she wouldn't recognise them next time'.

Brogden claimed she had been 'set up' by associates of Mr Denton.

At an earlier hearing to decide her basis of plea, Judge Christopher Prince rejected both accounts.

"This complex conspiracy is too fanciful to be capable of belief,"said the judge.

Louise Harrison, defending, said in mitigation: "Press reports of this case have reignited the feelings in the area about the murder of Mr Denton.

"Mrs Brogden had to move at the time, and she has recently been threatened on facebook.

"She is a wheelchair user with a number of health difficulties, and relies on the love and support of her family.

"Through me, she wishes to apologise for this offence, and say she is frightened by by the prospect of going to prison."

Judge Prince jailed Brogden for 10 weeks.

The judge said: "I take into account your health problems, which is why I caused an inquiry to be made of HMP Low Newton.

"They tell me they are able to look after you in a custodial setting, so an immediate prison sentence will not have an adverse impact on your health.

"Taking drugs into prison is a serious offence because of the pernicious effect they have on the stability of the institution.

"Those who do so must expect immediate custody.

"Were I to suspend the sentence in your case, it would send out entirely the wrong message, and may even encourage others to target older people to take the drugs in for them."