A holidaymaker from Northern Ireland has been sentenced to eight years in prison after swallowing a £30K diamond ring in Turkey.
Ian Campbell (54) was sentenced to eight years and nine months for “qualified theft” by a court in Marmaris.
Campbell was arrested on October 4 last year for trying to steal the 2.5-carat diamond ring from a jewellery store whilst on holiday.
It was reported at the time that the holidaymaker first tried to leave the store with the ring hidden in his pocket, but a shop assistant became suspicious and locked the front door. He then popped the ring in his mouth and swallowed it.
The shop called the police, who proceeded to take Campbell to hospital with instructions that the ring must be returned by any means possible.
Campbell was given laxatives at first, but an attempt to retain the ring via “natural means” was unsuccessful.
After two days in hospital with a police escort, Campbell volunteered for surgery and the ring was recovered following a colonoscopy.
At the time, he told prosecutors he had become obsessed with diamond rings after losing his wife in a tragic accident.
“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 he said: “I lost my wife in a traffic accident. 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.”
Campbell is expected to appeal against the court’s ruling.