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How three fun-loving Brits found themselves locked up in foreign jails

Three British men who found themselves behind bars in foreign jails after their lads' holidays ended in disaster share their stories in a compelling new documentary. Daley Thompson, 27, of Cardiff, Martin Fitzgerald, of Manchester, and Josh Ekim, 26, of London, all faced prison sentences overseas after they fell foul of police while partying in Greece, Spain and Thailand, on their respective trips.
How three fun-loving Brits found themselves locked up in foreign jails

Mr Thompson, who has a young son, was told he could spend 15 years in a Greek jail after he and two friends were found with more than £8,000 worth of cocaine in the popular party resort of Malia, on the island of Crete, in the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, Mr Fitzgerald was arrested and falsely accused of assaulting a police officer after the group became involved in a fight with a group of Spanish partygoers on the first night of a friend’s Ibiza stag do.  And Mr Ekim was forced to pay £1,500 to Thai police after he crashed into a fellow moped user in Phuket after he took a ‘mystery white substance’ during an alcohol-fuelled night out with friends.  Their stories are told as part of new four-part 5Star series Young, Dumb, and Banged Up in the Sun, which features young Britons imprisoned abroad while on holiday or living as expats.

Money-making scheme: Daley Thompson, 27, of Cardiff, was told he could spend 15 years in a Greek jail after he and two friends were found with more than £8,000 worth of cocaine in the popular party resort of Malia, on the island of Crete, in the summer of 2016. His story is told on new 5STAR series Young, Dumb and Banged Up in the Sun. Pictured, Thompson on the show Drug-fuelled drive: Josh Ekim, 26, of London, pictured on the show, was forced to pay £1,500 to Thai police after he crashed into a fellow moped user in Phuket after he took a ‘mystery white substance’ during an alcohol-fuelled night out with friends Accused by police: Martin Fitzgerald, of Manchester, pictured on the show, was arrested and falsely accused of assaulting a police officer after the group became involved in a fight with a group of Spanish partygoers on the first night of a friend’s Ibiza stag do They include those who are guilty, and others imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit – including one falsely accused of murder. Here, ahead of the first episode on Wednesday night, FEMAIL looks at the stories of Daley, Martin and Josh…  Daley Thompson, 26, Cardiff

Place arrested: Malia, Greece Reason: Accused of possessing, dealing and smuggling cocaine  Daley Thompson travelled to Malia, Crete, with his friends Joel and Kyle for a lads’ holiday in the summer of 2016. ‘We had a ball, we went out partying, we had a laugh,’ he recalls. ‘Dancing with the girls, the usual stuff.’  Party boys: Daley Thompson, left, travelled to Malia, Crete, with his friends Joel and Kyle (also pictured) for a lads’ holiday in the summer of 2016. The three men were later arrested Early into the trip the friends met a group of English men who had cocaine and offered to introduce them to their dealer, an ‘Albanian man down the strip’.   Thompson and his friends met the drug dealers the following day and bought four-and-a-half ounces of cocaine.  If you bought it [cocaine] in small amounts it was extortionate so we bought a bigger amount. Our intention wasn’t to sell it, but we started to sell it ‘If you bought it in small amounts it was extortionate so we bought a bigger amount,’ he says. ‘Our intention wasn’t to sell it, but we started to sell it.’ The street value of cocaine in Malia is £80 per gram. Thompson and his friends were making double. Within just a few days the friends were selling cocaine to partygoers and had begun to draw attention in the local bars and clubs. ‘They would rather buy from us rather than go to the Albanian guys,’ he says. ‘We was definitely reckless [sic]. We were sniffing it in plain view of everybody. We was just having a laugh, five days partying, until the fifth day, everything went wrong.’  The friends had fallen asleep after bringing two women back to their holiday apartment following a cocaine-fuelled night out when it was raided by police. Officers found more than £8,000 of cocaine in the apartment fridge. ‘I thought I was dreaming,’ he says. ‘All I heard was “Policia, policia”. They were looking in the cans, they were looking in the milk, they were looking in the salt. They opened the fridge, and when I saw the package in the fridge I was just dead, I couldn’t believe it. I sunk into my stomach.’  Incriminating: The friends had fallen asleep after in their holiday apartment following a cocaine-fuelled night out when they were raided by police. Officers found more than £8,000 of cocaine in the apartment fridge (seen on the middle shelf in a reconstruction from the show) Harsh reality: Thompson, pictured on the new documentary series, was transferred to the notorious Alikarnassos prison on the Greek island. He spent a total of eight months in jail The group were sent to the island’s Neapolis jail, where they found themselves caught in the middle of a gang war between Greek and Albanian inmates. Thompson was later transferred to the notorious Alikarnassos prison after an altercation in his cell.  Recalling the second jail, he says: ‘I just kept myself to myself. I met some really dangerous people.  ‘There were Mexican drug cartels, Pakistani bosses who are shipping drugs around the world, Chinese Mafia who are chopping people’s arms and heads off.’  Thompson and his friends admitted possession but denied charges of supplying and smuggling. The minimum sentence for smuggling is 15 years. After eight months in prison, Thompson was brought before three judges who found him guilty of possession and selling the cocaine but not guilty of smuggling. The three men were each sentenced to four years in prison with a three-year suspended sentence.

Coming home: Thompson, pictured in red, was met on his release from Neapolis jail by family who had travelled from the UK. He and his friends were found guilty of two drugs charges but cleared of a third Having already served nearly one year in prison they were released immediately. While the jail sentence was not as harsh as it could have been, Thompson’s personal life still suffered greatly as a result of his arrest.  ‘I missed my son’s birthday… I lost my girlfriend, I lost everything,’ he said. ‘I was thinking “Why did I do this?”. I know I was having fun for the first five days but look where I am. I’ve got to s*** in a hole, I’ve got to eat food with rats running across it. It was disgusting. It was like a hellhole in there.’ Warning fellow holidaymakers, he added: ‘Don’t be stupid. Don’t ever go anywhere thinking you can s*** all over the place. It will s*** all over you.’  Martin Fitzgerald, Manchester

Place arrested: Ibiza, Spain Reason: Accused of assaulting a police officer Celebration: Martin Fitzgerald was part of a group of 10 friends who had travelled from the UK to Ibiza for a stag do. Pictured, Martin (centre) with friends at a festival on another occasion Martin Fitzgerald was part of a group of 10 friends who had travelled from the UK to Ibiza for a stag do.  ‘It was the first wedding of all of our friends,’ he explains, ‘a big occasion.’ ‘Going somewhere like Ibiza was like a playground to us. We can do what we want. There’s not many rules, we’re just going to have the time of our lives.’ On the first night, following hours of heavy drinking, the group made their way to the party hot spot of San Antonio for the night. I went over to the police officers to put the story straight. As soon as I went over to introduce myself, they got a grip on my arm They became involved in an altercation outside a nightclub after claiming two local Spanish partygoers had drawn a knife inside.  ‘The bouncer kicked them out, that’s when the trouble started,’ Mr Fitzgerald recalls. ‘A few words were exchanged, a few blows were exchanged.’ The dispute ended with Mr Fitzgerald’s friends chasing the men up the road.  While the rest of his friends moved onto the next bar, Mr Fitzgerald remained and was eventually identified by police as a suspect in the fight.   He continues: ‘I went over to the police officers to put the story straight. As soon as I went over to introduce myself, they got a grip on my arm.’

Bust-up: Martin and his friends became involved in an altercation with local partygoers following a night of heavy drinking. Pictured, Martin (right) on another night out with friends Breaking free: Mr Fitzgerald, pictured on the show, eventually spent three days in a Spanish jail before being released after admitting to assaulting a police officer Fearing for what would happen to him if he was put in jail, Mr Fitzgerald broke free and led one of the officers on a ‘wild goose chase’ through the streets before eventually being arrested in another bar.  Mr Fitzgerald was taken to San Antonio police station, where he eventually discovered he was being accused of assaulting the police officer who had chased him – a charge he emphatically denies – and could face a year in jail.  Three days after his arrest, the holidaymaker eventually came before a judge who offered him a deal in exchange for a guilty plea to the assault charge. His 12-month prison term was reduced to a suspended sentence and he was released immediately.  ‘I thought “It’s over, it’s actually over”, he says. ‘This big sigh of relief. I went to the British Consulate and they advised me to stay in the room and get the flight home the next day.’  Josh Ekim, 26, London

Place arrested: Thailand Reason: Crash while driving under the influence

Letting loose: Footballer Josh Ekim, decided to take a ‘mysterious white powder’ that he was given by a motorcycle driver following a night out in Phuket, Thailand. He was later arrested after he crashed into another moped driver while under the influence Mr Ekim, pictured top right with friends on another trip, was taken to a local prison in Thailand where he feared he would face years in jail for causing an accident while under the influence  Footballer Josh Ekim was apprehensive about Thailand’s ‘sleazy’ reputation before jetting off on holiday to Phuket.   He says: ‘I guess you could say I’ve got a bit of a wild streak. [On the first night] the music was going off, there was flashing lights everywhere. We were having a blast and then disaster struck. ‘We got broken up and I ended up on my own. All I had was my phone and passport, I’d run out of money, so it was time to call it a night.’ Mr Ekim managed to hitch a ride with a moped driver who offered to drop him off at his villa, a 30-40 minute drive away.  I’m not really one for drugs but I thought ‘I’m in Thailand. What better time than this’ After Mr Ekim tried to pay him £20 for the ride, the driver handed him a packet of a ‘mysterious white substance’ of what he believes might have been cocaine. ‘I’m not really one for drugs but I thought “I’m in Thailand. What better time than this”,’ Mr Ekim recalls.  ‘[After taking the substance I thought] no way is this the end of the night, I’m going back out. I just wanted to carry on drinking, to chase the party. I didn’t want to sleep, I was on such a high.’  Mr Ekim headed out on the group’s rented moped and soon found himself on a main road.  ‘I was on top of the world,’ he explains. ‘I feel invincible. I approach this massive road and I thought “this feels a bit scary now”. That’s when it all came crashing down.’ While trying to do a U-turn, Mr Ekim was struck by an oncoming moped. He continues: ‘This other guy drove straight into me. Head first. I flew 10m away on the side of the road. I thought “I’m in deep trouble here”. I didn’t know I was injured straight away. I looked over to see if he was okay and I could see that he was moving so it wasn’t a life or death situation. I was grateful for that at the time.’

Injuries: Mr Ekim was made to pay £1,500 before being released from police custody in Phuket, Thailand. Pictured, Mr Ekim with the injuries he sustained in the crash shortly after his release Mr Ekim was taken to a local prison where he feared he would face years in jail for causing an accident while under the influence.  But he was thrown a lifeline hours later when his friends arrived and spoke to the local officers.  Mr Ekim was released and his passport confiscated on condition of returning to the station with between £600 and £700 in cash the following day. The amount eventually increased to £1,500. He was not convicted of any charges.  ‘It was going up and up and up. The new sum was £1,000. They were threatening me with going to court, with going to prison. They [later] said £1,500.’ He adds: ‘I handed over the money. They gave me my passport back. It was hell. I’m very lucky that I’m here, telling the story.’   Young, Dumb and Banged Up in the Sun, Wednesdays at 9pm on 5STAR

 

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Emma Jones
Emma Jones is an entertainment journalist for UKCelebrityNews and other magazines. The author or coauthor of ten books, Emma has sold several million copies since 2006. She worked for eleven years as a writer and editor at the national news biweekly WORLD magazine.