Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Wife of Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin in extradition law vow
THE wife of retired Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin has vowed to campaign for a change in extradition laws after he was jailed in the United States for arms dealing.
Speaking after her 66-year-old husband was sentenced to 33 months in prison, Elaine Tappin said the cost of extradition was "unnecessary, disproportionate, or both".
Tappin, 66, pleaded guilty last year to one count of aiding and abetting the illegal export of defence articles under a so-called plea bargain with US prosecutors.
US District Judge David Briones, who also fined Tappin 11,357.14 US dollars (£7,095) at a hearing in El Paso, Texas, recommended that he should be allowed to serve his sentence in the UK but the decision ultimately rests with the US Bureau of Prisons.
Tappin, from Orpington, Kent, will commence his sentence at the Allenwood prison in Pennsylvania and must turn himself in to start the term by March 8.
Mrs Tappin, who suffers from chronic illness Churg-Strauss Syndrome, said she can "begin to see light at the end of this long dark tunnel" but added that she remains frustrated that her husband's extradition was "granted in the first place".
She said: "Having seen first-hand how the Extradition Act works in practice, I'm dismayed by the damage inflicted on defendants and those close to them.
"We cannot change what has happened to Chris, nor to those who have gone before him, but we can take steps to stop unwarranted extradition being imposed on others.
"I shall continue to do what I can to encourage Parliament to change the law in favour of domestic prosecution over extradition, whenever reasonable."
The couple, who have been married for 38 years and have a son and daughter, were touched by the "tremendous support" received from friends and strangers, she said.