UK & World News

  • 16 May 2014, 22:13

Couple 'Took Overdose To Delay Extradition'

A couple who are facing extradition to the US on fraud charges took a drugs overdose to delay or stop the process, a judge has ruled.

Grandparents Paul and Sandra Dunham, from Northampton, were remanded in custody after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court accused of breaching bail.

The court heard the couple, both 58, spent Wednesday evening saying goodbye to relatives and were due to report to a police station the following morning to begin the extradition process.

They were hopeful of a last-minute reprieve from Home Secretary Theresa May but when news came that, despite months of appeals, they would indeed be flying to the US, Mrs Dunham took between 12 and 14 sleeping pills.

Her husband found her ill and took 47 paracetamol tablets.

Senior District Judge Howard Riddle said the couple had taken enough drugs to cause themselves real harm, despite Mrs Dunham telling a nurse at Northampton General Hospital it had been a "cry for help".

He ruled there was a "substantial" risk the Dunhams would harm themselves again if released on bail pending extradition.

"There is simply no other conclusion I can reach on the face of it than at the very least it was to delay or prevent the (extradition) process from taking place," the judge added.

Mr Dunham was indicted on 13 counts of fraud and money laundering by a grand jury in the US state of Maryland in December 2011.

His wife is accused of eight counts of fraud and of aiding and abetting her husband.

The allegations date back to between 1999 and 2009 when Mr Dunham worked in the US as the head of manufacturing firm Pace.

The court was told psychiatric tests on the couple after they were admitted to hospital found no acute mental illness.

Mrs May has ordered attempts to extradite the Dunhams be put on hold for at least two weeks.

The judge said: "In 14 days or thereabouts, a decision will be taken that extradition is imminent and, at that stage, despite the protestations that they won't, there is a real risk they will take steps to harm themselves."

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