Grim fate: Che Pennyman is now sharing a jail cell in Trinidad with five other inmates. *Photo supplied/iStock photo
Grim fate: Che Pennyman is now sharing a jail cell in Trinidad with five other inmates. *Photo supplied/iStock photo

 

A distraught mother begged her career criminal son to stay out of trouble just hours before he was caught smuggling drugs out of Trinidad.

Anna Pennyman told her 42-year-old son, Che, “you are going to get caught if you do anything” when she spoke to him last Wednesday.

The next morning she received a phone call from police in the Caribbean saying her son had been arrested at the airport.

As her son begins a five-year prison sentence, she urges parents not to make the same mistakes she did as a young mother and to keep their children close and talk to them.

She told the Bermuda Sun: “Mothers need to set the ground rules and stick to them. It pays off in the end — otherwise you end up like me.

“When your children are young and you see them going down the wrong track you need to act and talk to them. You have to impose restrictions and have rules, and ensure they abide by them. You need to make them accountable or in the end you are going to end up another me.”

Mrs Pennyman feared that her son, who has a string of previous convictions, was up to no good when she spoke with him in Trinidad last week.

She said: “My stomach just dropped when I heard where he was. 

“I just knew something like this was going to happen.

“I told him ‘Che, don’t you do anything’. And he said ‘I’m okay momma’.

“The next morning I get a call from the police asking if I have a son called Che Pennyman. They put him on the phone to me and he said ‘momma they got me’.

“I just screamed at him ‘why’. I asked him when he was going to grow up and I started crying.”

Pennyman was arrested as he tried to board a British Airways flight on Thursday.

Police found 2.1kg of drugs hidden in silver and black packages inside the lining of his laptop.

He appeared at court on Friday and was jailed for five years. 

Mrs Pennyman said: “My biggest concern now is for his safety. I’m not saying he does not deserve the sentence, he does.

“But the prison is the pits — there’s six people in one cell and no toilets, just a pail, and they sleep on the floor.

“He’s been in Westgate before but this is different.

“When he spoke to me I could sense this was new to him.”

Pennyman, who grew up in Southampton Parish, had left Bermuda and moved to the UK around six months ago and his mother had hoped he would try and make a fresh start.

Mischievous

The 65-year-old said: “I have been dealing with this kind of thing since he was 18. He was a mischievous little boy, but he was always honest.

“And he could always make us laugh. That was until the drugs took over.

“I look back now and realize how impatient I was with him. I did not have a clue. But after everything he is still my son and I will not turn my back on him. I will write to him and visit him in prison too. He has made his choices I know, but all I can do now is pray and keep talking to him.”

Earlier this week Mrs Pennyman spoke to ZBM News, urging parents to make the most of their time with their children.

She told us: “I lacked a lot of parenting skills. And we tried all the counselling and drug groups to help him. But they did not work. Discipline and structure is so important. You have to make the effort or you’ll end up with another Che.”