Pentonville visiting row as mum slams ‘diabolical’ MoJ for ban on kids seeing dad after she’s allegedly caught smuggling tobacco

Steffanie York and seven-month-old daughter Molly with the letter from HMP Pentonville. Picture: Pol

Steffanie York and seven-month-old daughter Molly with the letter from HMP Pentonville. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A mother has blasted a “diabolical” ban preventing her kids from visiting her “mentally ill” partner in Pentonville prison – after she was allegedly caught smuggling him tobacco.

Steffanie York, 29, and her six children, have been barred from seeing Daniel - whose surname has been withheld at her request - since April.

Steffanie, of Offord Road, argues the ban is "harming the emotional development" of seven-month-old daughter, who is unable to see her dad and doesn't even have his name on her birth certificate as Daniel was jailed when she was two days old.

She allegedly sent eight complaints without receiving a reply or written explanation as to why the family visits - an hour window every fortnight - aren't being allowed.

But after the Gazette contacted the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for comment she was sent a response by the head of operations at Pentonville on Thursday last week, which apologised that no one had yet written to explain.

It goes on to allege that Daniel was found with tobacco after Steffanie and her kids visited on April 15, adding: "CCTV evidence showed him retrieving an item from you and using your children to shield staffs' view as it happened [...] the ban covers a three month period."

Steffanie categorically denied this accusation, and has asked for the CCTV to be made pubic to exonerate her. "It's absolutely ridiculous," she said. "Why would I go to the media if I was in the wrong?"

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Steffanie last week said: "The system there is run absolutely disgracefully. He hasn't seen his daughter for three months and they haven't taken his mental health into account - it's horrific we have been subjected to this treatment."

Daniel, who was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment for burglary in December last year, has allegedly since been "brutally beaten up" by other inmates and "starved" for a six-week period because other prisoners are stealing his food - an MoJ source claimed there's no record of this happening.

Steffanie said the children are "broken hearted over the awful situation".

She bemoaned the lack of charities in London dedicated to helping kids cope with a parent being behind bars.

She's been seeking help from Children Heard and Seen; an Oxford charity which aims to "break the cycle of inter-generational offending".