Friends of a mother-of-six facing extradition to the United States over drugs charges have told of her devastation at being separated from her 16-week-old son.
Kerry Anne Howes was sent to Cornton Vale prison on Friday after judges rejected her appeal against extradition for allegedly exporting chemicals to make highly-addictive crystal meth.
Friends of the 32-year-old said she was “completely distraught” after being separated from Kayden and the rest of her children after losing the court case, and prison staff placed her on suicide watch after she arrived at the jail.
It was also revealed that US officials could arrive to transport Mrs. Howes and her husband and co-accused, Brian, 47, as early as today.
The couple were arrested in January 2007 by police on behalf of the US Drug Enforcement Agency and have been battling extradition ever since.
The pair, from Bo’ness, now face being sent to America within 28 days, although their lawyers may try to challenge the decision at the Supreme Court in London or in Europe.
A friend of the family, who asked not to be named, said she was caring for the six children after Friday’s court decision.
She said: “I’ve spoken to Kerry Anne twice every day by phone since Friday. She’s completely distraught about being separated from her kids. Other mothers at Cornton Vale are allowed to care for babies but Kerry Anne is not allowed.
“Kerry Anne’s been told the Americans could come for them as early as today, although her lawyer is planning to challenge that.
“Kerry Anne was put on suicide watch when she got to Cornton Vale. I don’t think she will do anything right now, but she’s in a bad way.
“I’m looking after their kids. The older ones are distraught but the younger ones don’t understand what’s going on.”
The friend is caring for girls Denni, 13, Bethany, 12, Ellie, eight, Leela, five, Cassidy, two, and first boy Kayden.
She added: “I’ve also spoken to Brian and he’s calling on Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to intervene and allow Kerry Anne to get bail. Brian wants to go to the US to clear his name but he wants to know his wife is here in Scotland to look after the kids.”
It is understood Mrs Howes could still be reunited with baby Kayden at Cornton Vale if the move is decided to be in the best interests of the child.
A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said it didn’t comment on individual cases.
The couple ran a legal chemical business – Lab Chemicals International – until targeted by undercover agents posing as buyers after a tip-off by one American citizen.
They accused the couple of selling iodine and red phosphorus in the knowledge they would be used to manufacture crystal meth.
The couple maintain they were simply selling chemicals to be used in amateur pyrotechnics. If convicted in the US, the couple face up to 20 years in jail.
At a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in April 2008, Sheriff Isabella McColl approved moves to extradite the pair. A month later, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill signed the extradition order.
Following the latest call for Mr MacAskill to intervene in the case, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “The decision whether or not to grant bail or to remand Mrs Howes was a matter for the court to decide.”
This article was written by Alan McEwen and published by The Scotsman on August 2, 2011.
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