A JUDGE criticised the “inexcusable” delay in a case in which a woman was accused of smuggling drugs into a prison in her bra.

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said the delay in Karen Turnbull’s case, which meant she had the matter hanging over her for 15 months, was one reason why he could suspend a jail sentence on her.

Turnbull took two packages of cannabis into Stockton’s Holme House Prison along with a mobile phone sim card on June 26 last year.

She was seen on CCTV transferring the items from her bra and putting them up her sleeve.

The 50-year-old, of Viola Crescent, Sacriston, County Durham, admitted three offences of conveying prohibited articles into a prison.

Nicholas Rook, mitigating, said Turnbull suffered from anxiety and depression and had been suffering enormously because of the proceedings against her.

He said: “She is extremely remorseful, ashamed and embarrassed.

“She has been manipulated by a man she had commenced a relationship with.”

Judge Bourne-Arton said he could suspend a jail sentence on Turnbull because of her previous good character and the delay in the case.

He gave her a four-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement.