Northern Ireland man jailed in Turkey for swallowing £30k ring says he 'fell into trance'
A Newry man has been sentenced to eight years in prison after swallowing a £30,000 diamond ring while on holiday in Turkey.
Ian Campbell (54) was sentenced to eight years and nine months for "qualified theft" by a court in Marmaris, the Demiroren News Agency report.
Mr Campbell was arrested on October 4 last year for trying to steal the 2.5 carat diamond from a jewellery store.
He swallowed the precious item whole when he feared he would be caught.
At the time, he told prosecutors he had become obsessed with diamond rings after losing his wife in a tragic accident.
"I fell into a trance when I saw the diamonds," he told the court.
"The jeweller was telling me something but I couldn't even hear him because I was in a trance.
"When I was conscious again, I found myself hiding a diamond in my pocket and I swallowed it in panic as jewellers started to search it," he said.
Prosecutors ordered police to take him to hospital to return the ring by "natural means", with the Turkish media keeping a watchful vigil.
After 36 hours without success, he consented to surgery to help return the property.
Speaking from his hospital bed in October, the father-of-four said: "I lost my wife in a traffic accident. Her body could not be removed from the car, which fell into a lake, for days. After the accident her diamond ring, our wedding ring, could not be found despite a search operation in the lake."
He said this had sparked his obsession for diamond rings.
"Whenever I see a diamond ring on display at jewellery shops, my wife always comes to my mind.
"I feel a strong urge to take those rings, especially the ones with higher carat diamonds."
Mr Campbell is expected to appeal against the ruling.