Belfast Telegraph

BB star's granny jailed over drugs

Big Brother star Josie Gibson was in court to see her grandmother jailed for more than four years for drug offences.

The reality TV personality joined other members of her family at Bristol Crown Court to see Diane Gibson, 72, sentenced to four years and three months' imprisonment.

The grandmother had been on the run for over 12 years having been convicted in 2000 at Bristol Crown Court of possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

Gibson had been originally arrested by police in 1998 at a motorway services with 2.9kg of cocaine - with a street value of £240,000 - in the boot of her car. She had been bailed to return to court for sentence but failed to appear and remained at large, living away from her family in the north of England. Police arrested her in April this year at the home of a relative in Yate, South Gloucestershire and today she returned to court to be sentenced.

Jailing the great grandmother, Judge Jeffrey Mercer QC said: "I sentence you on the basis you were a courier of this amount of cocaine. I take into account your age and I treat you as a person of good character and I take into account what I have read about your health. This is not the easiest of sentencing exercises but in my judgement the very least sentence which is appropriate for an offence of possession of cocaine with intent to supply is one of four years' imprisonment." The judge also sentenced Gibson to an additional three months' imprisonment to run consecutively for being at large for the last 12 years.

As the judge outlined the case against Gibson, the pensioner shouted from the dock: "I never done that."

Nicholas O'Brien, prosecuting, said that the sentencing guidelines at the time would have seen Gibson possibly handed a jail term in the range of five to seven years.

Outside court, Josie, 28, spoke of her relief at the sentence. "Such a relief," she said, when asked her view on the jail term.

In May, she took to Twitter to defend her grandmother. She wrote: "A few articles about my Nan just to clear up people don't know the truth. I lived with her and my aunty and she is heavily against drugs!"

Josie, from Bristol, became a star when she won Big Brother 11 in three years ago and has also launched a fashion line and made a fitness DVD.

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