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Orpington's Christopher Tappin returns to UK to serve remaining jail sentence

PUBLISHED: 08:25 30 September 2013 | UPDATED: 09:23 30 September 2013

Retired businessman Christopher Tappin arriving at Heathrow police station last year, where he was handed over to US marshals and taken to America to face arms dealing charges.  (PA)

Retired businessman Christopher Tappin arriving at Heathrow police station last year, where he was handed over to US marshals and taken to America to face arms dealing charges. (PA)

Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin, jailed in the US for selling parts to make Iranian missiles, has reportedly returned to the UK to serve the remainder of his sentence.

The former president of the Kent Golf Union was extradited last year and eventually pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the illegal export of defence articles under a so-called plea bargain with US prosecutors.

He was sentenced to 33 months in prison and fined almost $11,500 (£7,000) in January.

Then, US District Judge David Briones recommended that Tappin, from Orpington, should be allowed to serve his jail term for illegal arms dealing in the UK.

His lawyer, Karen Todner, appeared to confirm his return to the country on Twitter.

At the court hearing in El Paso, Texas, Tappin was told he would commence his sentence at the Allenwood prison in Pennsylvania.

He previously denied attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands.

But he later admitted that, between December 2005 and January 2007, he knowingly aided and abetted others in an illegal attempt to export zinc/silver oxide reserve batteries, a special component of the Hawk Air Defence Missile, to Iran.

The father-of-two fought against his extradition, taking his case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in a last-ditch effort to remain in the UK.

He failed and was taken to the US in February last year, where he spent a couple of months in a New Mexico jail before being released on bail.

Tappin told reporters he almost had a breakdown after 10 ‘barbaric’ days in solitary confinement, and said he was deprived of food and access to the British consul.

His case fuelled the row over the fairness of the extradition treaty between the UK and the US.

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