Notorious conman Mark Acklom has been extradited to Spain, days after being freed early from a British prison sentence.
Instead of serving out the rest of his UK sentence free but monitored on licence – and under the severe restrictions of a serious crime prevention order – Acklom is in a Spanish jail.
Acklom fled Spain in 2016, midway through a three-year fraud sentence, after being given temporary release while he applied for parole. At the time he went on the run, he was wanted for various frauds in three countries.
Sky News tracked him down in Switzerland, from where he was extradited to the UK in 2019 and jailed for the romance scam of Cotswold divorcee Carolyn Woods, from whom he stole £350,000.
He had wooed her, posing as a millionaire Swiss banker and MI6 agent, promised to marry her, but then vanished after fleecing her of all her money.
He had served barely two years of his five years and eight months sentence for defrauding Ms Woods before he was freed on licence last month.
Within days of being released, he was flown secretly to Madrid after agreeing to be extradited, Sky News can reveal.
His UK licence period should have lasted more than two years, during which time he would have been required to behave, stay in regular touch with a probation officer, and not travel abroad without permission, though his extradition makes all that redundant.
The Ministry of Justice said Acklom, 48, was being allowed to serve the UK licence period during his new Spanish sentence, which a court official in Murcia told Sky News would last until October 2023.
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If he’s freed in Spain before the end of the UK licence period, which is likely, the British authorities will expect the Spanish to send him back to the UK.
If Spain refuses, the UK could ask for his extradition, but there is no precedent for such a move and he could simply stay in Spain where his Spanish wife lives with their two daughters. Acklom is a fluent Spanish speaker.
The five-year serious crime prevention order, a rare sanction imposed by a UK judge before Acklom’s release, forces him to reveal his income, savings, assets and business dealings, close any foreign bank accounts, stop using false names, and tell police where he is living.
But it applies to the UK only and would not restrict Acklom’s activities in Spain or anywhere else in the world.
In his absence, UK police are still pursuing Acklom’s assets, though a scheduled Proceeds of Crime Act hearing in Bristol was postponed on the day he was extradited.
His victim, Ms Woods, 62, said: “I’d hoped in the future I might see some of that money, but the chances are very remote indeed. I don’t think there is any chance at all.”
Acklom is now in a Madrid jail, where he must complete the rest of the sentence imposed in 2015 for conning two Spanish brothers into paying him £200,000 as deposits on two flats he claimed to own in London.
His Spanish victims’ lawyer, Miguel Pouget, said Acklom’s fraudster partner, who was jailed with him in 2015, had already paid back some of the money she stole, and he still hoped to retrieve more from Acklom.