A desperate mum who appealed for money to bring her son’s body home from Peru, where her other son is in prison, faces jail after admitting theft.
Elsie White used diplomatic channels, MPs, the media, and international charity pressure groups to try and get the body of Jason Cato, who died while on parole in the South American country, brought home.
Her other son Jamie is also in prison there, accused of drug smuggling. He became one of the first Britons to be extradited to Peru earlier this year and is awaiting trial.
And White’s solicitor Howard Green, said in court the 62-year-old, of South Promenade, Cleveleys, had been driven to stealing £12,000 of jewellery from a couple she was cleaning for by her family’s ordeal.
He told Blackpool magistrates: “One of her sons died in Peru in March and a girlfriend there had him buried in that country. She wants his body exhumed and returned home.
“At the same time, she wanted money to fund the defence of her other son who is in prison in Peru having denied a drug smuggling offence. Under this duel stress she committed this offence and is ashamed.”
Jason, 39, who was released from the notorious Lurigancho prison in Lima after his family say he was thrown from a balcony, died on March 10 this year.
He had been jailed for smuggling drugs and was behind bars for three years before being released. Following his death, he was buried quickly according to local custom.
Jamie, in Peru from 2007 to 2009 selling time shares, was arrested last year, just days before completing a jail sentence for his role in transporting amphetamine into Cumbria.
He admitted his involvement in that drugs operation, but insists he is innocent of the allegation in Peru, where authorities allege he deposited a parcel containing just over 400g of cocaine at a downtownLima post office in 2009.
In June, he spoke to The Gazette of his relief after winning an extradition appeal, but days later it was overturned and he was sent to South America.
He later claimed through his mum an £8,000 bounty had been placed on his head inside the notoriously-tough prison – a debt allegedly inherited from his brother’s time inside.
White told the Sunday Mirror: “I’d sooner he topped himself here than go over there and go through all this.”
White was arrested after the couple realised the jewellery was missing. It was sold for £3,000 and melted down, the court heard.
The pair, who said the valuables had sentimental value, had offered to lend her money and did not want White to be punished unduly, but said they wanted her wrongdoing noted.
She will be sentenced at crown court at a later date.