Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland holidaymaker has op after 'swallowing £30k diamond' - Turkish police finally recover jewel after two-day wait

 

By John Toner

A crafty Northern Irish holidaymaker who swallowed a £30,000 diamond ring in an alleged theft attempt has undergone a voluntary colonoscopy in Turkey.

Ian Campbell (54) was accused of gobbling the trinket while in a jewellery shop in the Marmaris region on Thursday.

After being collared by shop staff the tourist, who reports have revealed is from Newry in Co Down, was taken to hospital and given laxatives but his push to return the ring via "natural means" proved unsuccesful.

After two uncomfortable days in hospital, during which Campbell ate, drank, ran and jumped around the corridors with a police escort, he eventually volunteered for surgery and the ring was recovered yesterday. 

The widower, who was said to be exhausted by the ordeal, claims he was compelled to swipe the 2.5-carat bauble after losing his wife in a horrific car accident and developing an obsession with diamonds.

Speaking through a translator from his hospital bed, the father-of-four said: "I've been coming to Marmaris for holiday for a week every year since 2004. I was forced to retire in Ireland after a workplace accident I experienced seven years ago.

"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.

"This incident caused my 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,"

According to Turkish media, the 54-year-old swiped the expensive bauble on Thursday and tried to leave the store by hiding it in his hand. When the jeweller became suspicious and locked the door, Campbell popped the solitaire ring in his mouth and swallowed it.

The shopkeeper called police but Campbell denied any wrongdoing.

A Turkish prosecutor instructed cops to take the tourist to Marmaris State Hospital for surgery to remove the ring if he could not give it back "by natural means."

An x-ray scan showed the ring in Campbell's intestines and Turkish media tracked its "journey" in real time after he was given laxatives in the hospital.

The shopkeeper, who has been reunited with his ring, told Demirören News Agency :"I cannot believe how calm he is."

Police were understood to have instructed medical personnel to surgically remove the ring if the wait for a "natural ejection" took too long, before an exhausted Campbell opted for the procedure.

A source close to the investigation said: "Once he leaves hospital, the suspect will be taken to court, where he could be remanded in custody or placed under strict bail conditions while he awaits trial in Turkey."

Belfast Telegraph

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