Turkish court jails Irish man for swallowing diamond ring in botched theft attempt
A Turkish court has sentenced an Irish man to more than 8 years in prison for a botched theft attempt during which he swallowed an expensive diamond.
Ian Campbell, who was holidaying in the southwestern Turkish province of Muğla’s Marmaris district, was arrested on Oct. 4 for attempting to steal a ring with a 2.5-carat diamond from a local jewellery before gulping it as noticed that he would be caught.
Demirören News Agency reported Feb. 9 that the 4th Criminal Court of First Instance in Marmaris sentenced Campbell to 8 years and 9 months in prison for "qualified theft."
The tourist, who was under arrest pending trial, is expected to appeal the ruling.
Campbell had earlier explained to a Turkish prosecutor that he swallowed the diamond because he “fell into trance” the moment he saw it.
The prosecutor had instructed the police to take the tourist to Marmaris State Hospital for surgery to remove the ring if he could not give it back “by natural means.”
Turkish media tracked the ring’s “journey” almost in real time for two days as Campbell waited in the hospital after taking laxatives under police custody.
The 54-year-old ate, drank, ran and jumped around the hospital corridors to move the ring in his intestines for more than 36 hours, but his efforts were fruitless.
The $40,000 ring was finally removed on Oct. 6 with a surgical procedure, which was permitted by the tourist.
As the criminal case was going on, local media reported quotes from Campbell’s testimony to the prosecutor on Jan. 23.
“I fell into trance when I saw the diamonds. The jeweler was telling something to me but I couldn’t even hear him because I was in trance. 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 it,” he was quoted as telling the prosecutor.
The prosecutor, who was not convinced, had launched the criminal case.