Smuggling aunt ‘had hole in crotch of leggings’ to sneak-in drugs for jailed murderers

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A wheelchair-using aunt who took drugs into prison for the murderers of boxer Mark Denton is facing an anxious wait to discover if she is also going to jail.

June Brogden was visiting nephews 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 brutal 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 for supplying class A and B drugs.

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’.

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. “I find she was not coerced.”

The judge ruled the case ‘crosses the custody threshold’.

Brogden appeared for sentence at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, video linked to the judge at Durham Crown Court, because Teesside Magistrates’ is the nearest court to Durham with facilities to take a wheelchair user into custody.

The sentencing hearing was adjourned after Judge Prince ruled he needed Mr West and Louise Harrison, defending, to research previous cases of defendants sentenced for taking drugs into prison.

“Without those authorities I cannot decide the correct sentence in this case,” said the judge.

The case was adjourned until May 30,

Brogden was bailed to return to Teesside Magistrates’ Court on that date for another video linked hearing to Durham Crown Court.