Drug smuggler sent back to jail

A DRUG smuggler who claimed he escaped from prison because of a warning from the spirit world was put back inside to see out his six-year jail term. Noukwe Onwuka, 35, failed to return to HMP Ford in West Sussex after being let out unaccompanied for a ho

A DRUG smuggler who claimed he escaped from prison because of a warning from the spirit world was put back inside to see out his six-year jail term.

Noukwe Onwuka, 35, failed to return to HMP Ford in West Sussex after being let out unaccompanied for a hospital appointment in 2004.

But Onwuka was pulled over by police driving his girlfriend's BMW during a routine check in Dagenham, Essex, in May this year.

Onwuka claimed a spiritualist told him his life was in danger if he returned to the category D jail which houses non-violent prisoners.


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Prosecutor Leslie Chinweze told Snaresbrook Crown Court: "The defendant was routinely stopped in Church Elm Lane, Dagenham at about 12.30am on Tuesday May 26, 2009.

"He told officers that the vehicle was his girlfriend's whom he lives with."

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Onwuka confessed he only held a provisional licence and was driving with no insurance, the court heard.

"Further enquiries at his home address revealed that his girlfriend was not at home and was unaware that he had taken her vehicle," he said.

"After fingerprints were taken of Onwuka at Dagenham police station, it was revealed that he was wanted for absconding from Ford prison in Sussex in 2004.

"He attended a hospital appointment and did not return to prison as he stated he was too scared of going back.

"He was sentenced to six years and had only served two years at this stage."

Onwuka told interviewing officers he had received a message from a medium, warning his life was in great peril.

"After the appointment he did not go back to prison because he had received information from a spiritualist stating that his life was in danger and he had received a letter to that effect," said the barrister.

Onwuka was ordered to serve the remaining four years of his jail term, the court heard.

In 2004, Onwuka was convicted at Isleworth Crown Court, Middlesex, of importing class A drugs.

Onwuku, of Blade Court, Oldchurch Road, Romford, Essex, was cleared of breaking prison but returned to jail to serve the remainder of his original sentence.

A police spokeswoman said:" This case demonstrates the value of routine traffic stops and stop and search.

"Using our response teams, Safer Neighbourhood and Transport officers, we will continue to make it difficult for criminals to travel in our borough.

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