Christmas mercy for 'tragic' prisoner from Peterborough

A man jailed for drugs offences will spend Christmas with his family after judges freed him due to the "terrible tragedy" overshadowing his life.

Marcus Levi Fife, of Kirkmeadow, North Bretton, Peterborough, was jailed for 21 months at the town's crown court after admitting drug charges.

The Appeal Court heard that a day after the 25-year-old's conviction, his 10-month-old daughter Indika died.

The court cut Fife's sentence to a year which means he can now be released.

'Wife devastated'

Fife was sentenced on 29 July but the following day Indika died of a rare heart condition.

"He was particularly close to her," said Mr Justice Owen.

Fife admitted having heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply and producing cannabis in relation to a flourishing marijuana plant which police found at his home.

He was stopped by police in his car in September last year, Mr Justice Owen told London's Appeal Court, adding that officers discovered 15 wraps of crack cocaine and 11 wraps of heroin.

Fife denied being a dealer, insisting he was simply minding the drugs for someone else.

Mr Justice Owen, sitting with Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, said Fife deserved a stiff sentence for his crimes but that his family had now been stricken by a "terrible tragedy".

His wife Chinada is also expecting their fourth child, the court heard, and her life had been devastated by her daughter's death.

"There are exceptional circumstances where the demands of justice can be tempered by mercy," said the judge. "This is just such a case."

Allowing Fife home for Christmas would reunite him with his grieving wife and family and allow him to "support his family in their hour of need", the judge added.

He cut Fife's total sentence to 12 months, saying: "This will have the consequence that he can be released immediately."

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