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Teenage mother faces full jail term for hiding gun in teatowel

PUBLISHED: 16:24 09 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:14 12 August 2010

A NAÏVE teenage mother, given a three-year sentence after agreeing to look after a handgun for some boys, has failed to persuade judges she was too harshly punished.  Vanessa Nardia Moses, of Benbury Close, Beckenham, was 17 when she was found by police

A 'NAÏVE' teenage mother, given a three-year sentence after agreeing to look after a handgun for some boys, has failed to persuade judges she was too harshly punished.

Vanessa Nardia Moses, of Benbury Close, Beckenham, was 17 when she was found by police with the gun in her flat, wrapped in a tea-towel, when they conducted a search on July 17 last year.

Moses, now 19, was sentenced to three years detention at Inner London Crown Court on July 29 this year, having pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm.

Last Wednesday Mr Justice Simon and Mr Justice Royce, heard an appeal against the sentence at at London's Criminal Appeal Court.

Moses' lawyers argued her case was "exceptional" so the standard minimum three-year term for possession of a firearm was over the top for a girl of her age.

They claimed Moses should have a shorter sentence as she had never touched the gun and had a two-year-old child to care for.

But Mr Justice Simon refused the appeal, saying that, despite deterrent sentencing in gun possession cases, "it seems, unfortunately, that there are still young women willing to be used in this way".

He added: "It is fair to describe the minimum sentences under the Firearms Act as harsh, or even draconian, but their purpose is clear, to deter people from having firearms.

"This was a sad case, but there were not, in criminal justice terms, exceptional circumstances.

"The sentence was severe but cannot be considered arbitrary or excessive.

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