Extradited Brit Christopher Tappin released on bail in Texas – I know some Americans can’t understand why we British are so sensitive about these extradition cases…..but many are.
Extradited Brit Christopher Tappin released on bail in Texas – I know some Americans can’t understand why we British are so sensitive about these extradition cases…..but many are. (This article is taken from the Daily Telegraph today Friday 27th April 2012).
Extradited Brit Christopher Tappin ‘played golf in jail cell to cope’
Christopher Tappin, the Briton extradited to the United States over arms dealing charges, has described how he survived his time in a high security jail by playing imaginary rounds of golf in his cell.
Mr Tappin, 65, who was freed on bail on Wednesday ahead of his trial, spent two months in a remote prison in the New Mexico desert following his controversial extradition in February.
He has now been bailed to live at his lawyer’s house in a gated community in Houston, Texas and has been fitted with an electronic tag. The house has its own pool and is a stark contrast to the forboding prison where he was previously held.
The former president of the Kent Golf Union described to The Daily Telegraph how he coped in jail by improvising a golf ball and hitting it with his cane.
He described how he had first been held initially in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) which was “solitary, an area which is not to be recommended.”
Later, he was moved into general population where he shared a dormitory of bunk beds with other inmates and coped “reasonably well.”
Mr Tappin said: “The first 36 hours were the most difficult. I didn’t see anybody in that time. I found that very, very difficult.”
The Otero County jail facility, where Mr Tappin was held along with other federal prisoners, has no windows, only air vents.
During his time there he was visited by The Daily Telegraph and appeared weary but stoic. His eyes were red-rimmed with lack of sleep, as he sat behind a three-inch glass screen and communicated with a phone held to his ear.
Mr Tappin said: “You have no idea of what time of day it is. You go to sleep about 6pm, then there’s a cacophony of noise about 8pm. People screaming and shouting and hollering.”
Mr Tappin, a retired businessman from Orpington, Kent whose son Neil is deputy editor of Golf Monthly, was extradited to the jail after losing his two-year battle against extradition from the UK.
He is accused of conspiring to ship 50 Eagle Picher batteries, a key component for Hawk surface-to-air missiles, to Iran and faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted.
He denies the charges and says he was just a shipper who thought the batteries were automotive industry parts bound for the Netherlands.
At his new home in Montgomery County, near Houston Mr Tappin will be able to practice his swing on a community golf course.
The gated neighbourhood where he is living is dubbed Texas’ “most celebrated master-planned community” and contains hundreds of homes worth millions of dollars.
It has its own shops, hospital and churches, and the leafy setting includes a forest, parks, lakes annd nature trails.
Mr Tappin is staying in the home of his lawyer Dan Cogdell, which is estimated to be worth $1 million, and his family are understood to be planning a visit to Texas. His case could take months or even years to go to trial.
Lets Tour England
Friday 27th April 2012