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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 16:27 GMT
Cannabis grandmother spared jail
Patricia Tabram
Patricia Tabram defended herself during the court case

A 68-year-old grandmother convicted of growing cannabis at her Northumberland home has been given a 250 hour community service order.

Patricia Tabram, from Humshaugh, had denied charges of possessing and cultivating the drug when she appeared at Carlisle Crown Court.

She was arrested in 2005 when plants and growing equipment were seized.

Tabram had claimed she used the drug to relieve depression after the death of her son and pain following a car crash.

Last year she was spared jail after admitting possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

I am old and I am tired and I am disappointed
Patricia Tabram

After the hearing she said: "I'm going to go on medicating.

"The police can come to my house every week. I'll give them a cup of tea.

"I'll give them a decent biscuit, which of course will be medicated and I'll give them some cannabis so they charge me again and again and again."

The court heard how she has suffered depression since the death of her teenage son in 1975.

She also said the drug relieved aches and pains caused by two car crashes.

Patricia Tabram arriving at Carlisle Crown Court
Tabram said she was not afraid of going to prison

She was in breach of a six-month suspended jail sentence for the 2005 conviction when police, acting on a tip-off, found the plants in a walk-in wardrobe at her home.

Ms Tabram also told them there was powder stored in jars in her kitchen to be used in cooking.

She said: "I am old and I am tired and I am disappointed, not in the result by the jury.

"I am disappointed in the attitude of the court regarding someone my age with my health problems and the way I deal with it.

"I just want to go home and get some rest."

Before appearing in court, the grandmother-of-two claimed she was "not afraid" of going to prison.

'Everyone's granny'

She said she would be "everyone's granny" and would be "treated like a queen".

In 2005, Judge David Hodson refused to jail Tabram, saying he did not want to make her a martyr.

Shame that nobody ever admits drug policy in the UK is a complete and utter failure
Peter, Croydon

But on Wednesday Judge Barbara Forrester said she could not rule out a jail term because Tabram was in breach of the suspended sentence.

Following the conviction, a Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Patricia Tabram has consistently flouted the law and Northumbria Police has a duty to act on the information we receive concerning possessing and cultivating drugs in order to enforce this law.

"We take drug abuse very seriously and are keen to use all tools at our disposal to eliminate drug dealing and use in the community."

The Crown Prosecution Service said medicinal use of cannabis was not a legal defence to possession and cultivation of the drug.


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