Turkish jail term for botched jewel theft

February 12, 2019

A Newry man has been sentenced to an eight-year prison term by a Turkish court after he was convicted of attempting to steal an expensive diamond ring.

Ian Campbell was holidaying in Turkey’s Marmaris district when he was arrested in October last year on suspicion of theft of the 2.5 carat ring.   It was alleged Campbell swallowed the jewel when staff of a jewellers became suspicious and locked the door of the store as he tried to flee.

After his arrest, an x-ray showed the $40,000 ring lodged in his intestines and surgeons were given the go ahead to surgically remove it.  The 54-year-old father-of-four was then prosecuted.  

In an attempt to justify his actions, Campbell had earlier explained to a Turkish prosecutor that he swallowed the diamond because he “fell into trance” the moment he saw it.

“When I was conscious again, I found myself hiding a diamond in my pocket and I swallowed it in panic as jewelers started to search for it,” he was quoted as telling the prosecutor.

Turkish news agency reported on Saturday that Campbell has been sentenced to eight years and 9 months in prison for “qualified theft.”  He is expected to appeal the ruling.