Widow sneaked drugs into 'Joy in bra

Andrew Phelan

A WIDOW was caught trying to smuggle more than €700 worth of drugs into Mountjoy Jail by hiding the package in her bra.

Mother-of-four Niamh Chew (35) claimed she had bought the drugs at the prison gates before visiting an inmate and only had them on her because she was "reluctant" to leave them in a locker before going into the prison.

A recovering heroin addict, she insisted they were for her own use. Judge William Hamill found her guilty of a charge of conveying drugs into a prison and adjourned the case for probation and community service reports.

Chew, of Clonskeagh Road, had admitted a charge of simple possession of drugs but denied illegally bringing them into a prison.

Prison officer Lisa Delaney told the court the accused was going through security when a sniffer dog indicated the presence of drugs.

When asked if she had anything on her, she removed the package from her bra and handed it over. The court heard the defendant had been visiting Jonathan Donovan, a friend of her sister.

Her husband, who died three years ago, had spent a "substantial amount of time" in Mountjoy and she had visited him there over the years.

However it had been several years since her last visit and security arrangements had got tighter, her solicitor Niall O'Connor said. Garda Mary Claire McManamy said if the drugs were for the defendant's own use, she could have left them in a locker provided for visitors' personal belongings.

The garda said the accused would have been the only person with a key to this locker.


In evidence, the defendant said she had been visiting Mr Donovan because her sister could not make it on the day. She bought the drugs at the gate.

"They were for my use and an acquaintance," Chew said. "I had no intention of supplying them to anybody in Mountjoy."

The court heard Chew had been addicted to heroin for 15 years and had now been on methadone for five years.

She had no previous convictions and had never been in trouble before. The accused was in receipt of social welfare.

"It seems an extraordinary thing to do, to casually purchase drugs with a person she doesn't know and then bring them into prison," said Judge Hamill.

He warned that he was "making no promises" about how he intended dealing with the case.

The case was remanded to February 28.