Concern over mother jailed for restraining daughter on drugs

Tabitha Saker
Image caption Tabitha Saker was restrained by her mother, who taped her legs together

A Kent MP is calling for sentencing guidelines to be reviewed after a mother was jailed for trying to stop her daughter going out to buy heroin.

Julia Saker, from Dover, is serving a 12 month sentence after pleading guilty to false imprisonment.

Her husband, Tim, said she tried to stop daughter, Tabitha, 19, leaving the house in October last year, by taping her legs together round her jeans.

"I am deeply concerned," said Charlie Elphicke, Tory MP for Dover and Deal.

"I have written to the Attorney General and to Ken Clarke at the Ministry of Justice to ask for the sentencing guidelines to be reviewed urgently and to ask what exactly the judge was doing imposing a sentence like this."

Tabitha said on Friday she would swap places with her mother if she could.

"She shouldn't have to suffer as a result of me taking drugs," she said.

"I think most parents would have felt it was the right thing to do, that she didn't really have much other option.

"My mother is a very homely person - she doesn't want a lot, she just wants to be at home."

Mr Saker said he was devastated when his wife was jailed at Canterbury Crown Court last month.

'Worst scenario'

"I couldn't believe it. I thought the worst possible scenario would be a custody sentence but it would be suspended," he said.

"It has meant that Tabitha has had very minimal supervision.

"She is still on methadone but it is very difficult for me to monitor and supervise because I have got to go to work as well.

"Julia was always there for her."

Legal expert Joshua Rosenberg said the sentence did seem severe.

"But equally, you can't have parents of adult children simply saying, 'I can decide what is right for you'," he said.

The family is to appeal against sentence.

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