Heroin restraint mother Julia Saker 'would do it again'

A Kent mother who was jailed for a year after she tied up her daughter's legs to stop her leaving the house to buy heroin has said she would do it again.

Julia Saker, 50, from Dover, was jailed for 12 months at Canterbury Crown Court in January after pleading guilty to false imprisonment.

This month, she lost her fight for a non-custodial term at the Appeal Court but has been released on licence.

She said: "It's not a crime where I can say 'well I will never do it again'.

"Given the circumstances, I perhaps would."

Mrs Saker added: "As a mother and as a parent, I don't see how else you can react. You can't just say to your child, OK then, off you go, go on, go score some drugs."

After she was jailed, Charlie Elphicke, Tory MP for Dover and Deal, and local people in east Kent said Mrs Saker should not have been given a custodial sentence.

'Wake-up call'

Mrs Saker, a former administrator for Kent County Council, said: "Even to this day I still can't see who this was supposed to serve.

"It hasn't made me change my mind about what I should have done. It hasn't protected the public [from me], because I've never been a danger to anybody.

"All that's basically happened is that I've lost my job so now I'm signing on, whereas before I was a taxpaying and... upstanding normal citizen and now I'm an ex-convict."

During the legal appeal, Julia Saker's husband, Tim, said their daughter Tabitha would have swapped places with her mother if she could.

He also said Tabitha, 19, had stopped using drugs.

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

Mrs Saker, who served three months of her sentence before her release, said: "That's the most positive thing that's come out of it."

She added: "To have achieved this result, I would have gone to prison for as long as it takes really, if that was the wake-up call that she needed."

At the Appeal Court, Patrick Lawrence QC, representing Mrs Saker, argued she had only acted as any loving mother would have done.

But Mr Justice Cooke, sitting with two other judges, said: "No parent could fail to understand the quandary in which the parents of this girl were put.

"However she could have sought the help of the authorities, instead of imprisoning her in this extremely misguided manner."

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