Northern Ireland news

Newry man jailed in Turkey after he swallowed £30,000 ring

A 54-YEAR-OLD man from Newry, who swallowed a £30,000 diamond ring while on holiday in Turkey, has been sentenced to jail.

Ian Campbell was sentenced to eight years and nine months for "qualified theft" by a court in the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris.

He was arrested on October 4 for trying to steal the diamond from a jewellery shop. When he feared he would be caught, he swallowed the ring.

Mr Campbell later had a voluntary colonoscopy to recover the ring after natural methods did not work.

His wife Patricia died in June 2014 after her car plunged into Newry Canal.

The 50-year-old had two sons and two daughters.

Mr Campbell told prosecutors he had become obsessed with diamond rings after his wife died.

"I fell into a trance when I saw the diamonds," he told the court.

He said when he came out of the trance: "I found myself hiding a diamond in my pocket and I swallowed it in panic as jewellers started to search it."

Speaking after the theft, the father-of-four said he had come to Marmaris on holiday every year since 2004.

"I lost my wife in a traffic accident," he said.

"Her body could not be removed from the car, which fell into a lake, for days. After the accident her diamond ring, our wedding ring, could not be found despite a search operation in the lake.

"This incident caused my obsession for diamond rings.

"Whenever I see a diamond ring on display at jewellery shops, my wife always comes to my mind.

"I feel a strong urge to take those rings, especially the ones with higher carat diamonds."

Mr Campbell is expected to appeal against the ruling.

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