Family appeal for gran’s early release

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An appeal has been made for a grandmother jailed for her part in a£5 million scam to defraud taxpayers to be let out of prison 18 months early because she has terminal cancer.

Friends and family of Tracie Morton, 51, have launched a campaign for her to be released on compassionate grounds and say “time is of an essence”.

Tracie, from Toft Next Newton, 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.

Tracie’s long-term partner Rob Salthouse had been planning to propose when she got out of prison - but now now fears the love of his life will die behind bars.

He said: “Now we don’t have time to waste. I’m going to do everything in my power to get her out.”

He said her pains “have got worse as every week goes by”.

“Despite this, she has passed several levels of exams in maths and computer skills to improve her chances of leading a better life on her release,” he said.

“She has also achieved enhanced status within the prison, which is hard to achieve and proves that she has been a model 
prisoner.

“She has also worked as a mentor, teaching other inmates the other skills she has learnt to try and improve their lives as well.

“All in all she knows what she did was wrong but she has put all her efforts into being a better member of society and now, finally, after all those efforts, has been given the news that she has terminal cancer and could die in prison.

“God only knows what must be going through her mind.”

“There is not only Tracie to consider, there’s her family as well.”

Former Blanchard Taxis worker Tracie found out she had terminal pancreatic cancer last Monday, while handcuffed to a prison officer.

She has lost a lot of weight and is showing signs of being in the latter stages of the disease, but does not yet know how long she has left to live.

Close family friend Jacqui Addison, who has been inspired by Tracie to get a diploma, said: “She’s an amazing woman, I’d like half her strength.

“ 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.”