Belfast Telegraph

'Wanted' man found dead in France

A wanted man who has been on the run for over 25 years, despite being arrested in Ireland in 2005, is believed to have been found dead in France.

Robert Stapleton is wanted in connection with a multimillion-pound fraud, with Irish, UK and European Warrants for his arrest.

The UK's Lincolnshire Police previously said the 67-year-old was wanted over allegations of fraud of £5 million relating to companies he controlled.

Stapleton, who has appeared on British TV show Crimewatch's Most Wanted board, was arrested on a European arrest warrant in Ireland in 2005 but failed to surrender to extradition and disappeared.

It is now believed his body was found by the roadside in a town in Brittany, France, around May 22. It is understood his death is not being treated as suspicious.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the French authorities have been in contact.

French authorities are working on the assumption that the dead man is Stapleton, based on the documentation found on his person, but no formal identification is thought to have taken place yet.

Lincolnshire Police said they are liaising with French and Irish counterparts after the discovery of the body near Rennes, Brittany.

It said: "Since then an investigation has been ongoing to establish that the body is that of Robert Stapleton who has been wanted by Lincolnshire Police since he left the country in 1985. At that time he was under investigation after fraud allegations.

"Should it be confirmed after forensic and other tests that Robert Stapleton has died, we will be contacting victims of the alleged frauds and any other interested parties to update them about the developments. We have already spoken to the Crown Prosecution Service who have supported our efforts to bring Mr Stapleton to justice."

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