Retired couple who tried to take own lives extradited to US on fraud charges

Retired British couple Paul and Sandra Dunham who have been extradited from the UK to the USA to face fraud charges

Retired British couple Paul and Sandra Dunham who have been extradited from the UK to the USA to face fraud charges

First published in News

A RETIRED British couple who attempted to take their own lives have been extradited to the US to face fraud charges, Scotland Yard said.

Grandparents Paul and Sandra Dunham were handed over to US Marshals at Heathrow Terminal Four by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit and left on a flight that departed around 2.15pm.

The couple, both 58, were taken to hospital last Thursday after they took a drug overdose the night before they were due to hand themselves in to police and in turn to US marshals.

The Dunhams were remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court last Friday after Senior District Judge Howard Riddle concluded they had taken the drugs deliberately to avoid or delay their extradition to face fraud charges.

Mr Dunham spent the weekend in Wandsworth prison, while Mrs Dunham was held in HMP Holloway. Both were transferred to Heathrow police station yesterday, where they spent the night.

The couple lost a High Court battle last month against extradition to stand trial over fraud charges relating to Mr Dunham's company, Pace.

Mr Dunham, who was chief executive, president and a 20% shareholder in the US company which manufactured soldering irons for the electronics industry, was indicted on 13 counts of fraud and money laundering by a grand jury in Greenbelt, Maryland, in December 2011.

Mrs Dunham is accused of eight counts of fraud for allegedly aiding and abetting him. The couple deny any wrongdoing.

Journalists due to take a statement outside the Dunhams' property in Northampton last Thursday alerted police when the couple did not answer the door.

Officers forced the door open and contacted paramedics, who arrived in two ambulances and took the couple to Northampton General Hospital, where they spent the night.

Melanie Riley, of campaigners Friends Extradited, said. "Another sad day. Two more British victims of an unjust extradition system have just been parcelled off.

"British MPs might now quietly reflect on this treatment and examine their consciences.

"Is this is a system of which they can be proud?

"Whose constituent will next be torn from their family, friends and home without a British judge having reviewed the evidence or heard their defence?

"By the time the case is tested at trial, if it ever gets there, the damage is done.

"It's a regime whose flaws are self-evident.

"Politicians across the house know how to make it better - but choose to acquiesce in deference to the US administration. Is this what we vote for at election time? I think not."

The Dunhams' UK solicitor, Karen Todner, of Kaim Todner solicitors, said: "I understand David Cameron has recently stated that the Abu Hamza conviction shows that we ought to be extraditing people to America with greater expedition.

"What in fact this case shows is that Mr Abu Hamza should have stood trial in the United Kingdom and faced British justice.

"How many people like Mr and Mrs Dunham have to be extradited before this Government will uphold the promises they made whilst in opposition to change this treaty with America?"

It is understood a lawyer has been lined up to represent the Dunhams in the US.

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