A campaign for a terminally ill grandmother to be released from prison early has stepped up.
Tracie Morton from Toft Next Newton was jailed for her part in a £5 million scam to defraud taxpayers.
But now the 51-year-old has terminal pancreatic cancer and her friends and family are fighting to have her released 18 months early on compassionate grounds.
Close family friend Jacqui Addison says she has been in touch with MP Sir Edward Leigh and written a letter to the governor at Tracie’s prison.
Jacqui says Sir Edward has pledged to contact Lord Chancellor Rt Hon Michael Gove once Tracie finds out how long she has left to live.
Tracie is awaiting the results of a biopsy which will give more information about her life expectancy.
Jacqui said: “She says she just wants to enjoy what time she’s got left but she’ll need support from family and friends.
“She was guilty of fraud but she hasn’t killed anyone or hurt anyone.
“She’s not going to be a danger to society. This is what’s cruel.
“She has been a model prisoner.
“Surely this must count for something.”
Tracie was jailed for four-and-a-half years last July after she was found guilty of being part a huge operation to illegally sell red diesel.
She was found guilty of conspiracy to evade paying excise duty on government-subsidised fuels between March 1, 2006, and March 30, 2012, and conspiracy to cheat Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
Since going to jail Tracie has passed several levels of exams in maths and computer skills and achieved ‘enhanced status’ within the prison - something that is difficult to do.
And even now that she has had her diagnosis - and losing weight and showing signs of being in the latter stages of the disease - Tracie is still determined to improve her skills by working towards a ‘level two mentorship’.
Tracie has even inspired Jacqui to get a diploma herself.
Jacqui said: “She’s an amazing woman, I’d like half her strength.
A Prison Service spokesman at the Ministry of Justice said: “Compassionate release is only granted in exceptional circumstances and is subject to very strict criteria — the primary consideration being that it will not put the public at risk.”
The spokesman said prisoners could apply for compassionate release and all applications were carefully considered on their merits against a published criteria.
The criteria includes things such as life expectancy, whether further imprisonment would reduce life expectancy and whether the release of the prisoner would put the public at risk.
At the time of going to press MP Sir Edward Leigh had not responsed to the Rasen Mail’s request for a comment.