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Cleared at last, British girl who spent years in an Indian prison
By Richard Savill and Rahul Bedi in New Delhi


Daisy Angus: I haven't been able to stop hugging my mother
A British backpacker told last night how she had survived years in a tough Indian jail after she was wrongly convicted of smuggling cannabis.

Daisy Angus, 26, a former fitness instructor, was acquitted on appeal after serving nearly half of a 10-year sentence of what the judge demanded should be "rigorous imprisonment".

Daisy Angus, A British backpacker told last night how she had survived years in a tough Indian jail after she was wrongly convicted of smuggling cannabis

"I am over the moon to finally be free," Miss Angus said. "Knowing that I was innocent and that justice would eventually prevail is one of the things I have clung on to during the past five gruelling years.

"I could not have got through this without the love and support of my family, especially my mum who has stood by me throughout, working tirelessly to get me out and prove my innocence. I just haven't been able to stop hugging her since coming out of jail."

Miss Angus, from Bournemouth, Dorset, was admitted to hospital on several occasions suffering from malaria and other infections during her years in the foreign women's wing at the Yerawada jail in Pune.

She was also reported to have learnt Hindi and taught English and yoga to her female inmates. She was the only European inmate although she did have two English-speaking prisoners for company.

Miss Angus, who always protested her innocence, claimed that she had been duped into carrying drugs through Bombay airport in 2002.

But when her case finally came to trial in June last year she was found guilty, only for the High Court in Bombay to overturn her conviction last Thursday, following a lengthy campaign by her family. Ayaz Khan, her advocate, said: "Daisy is happy to be free again. Her mother is happy and ecstatic; she was in tears and was very happy - finally she has got justice."

Miss Angus's father, John, died from leukaemia in December 2005, while his daughter was awaiting trial. "Daisy has had her tragic moments," Mr Khan said.

Miss Angus spent her early childhood in India with her parents, who worked for five years as volunteers in Mother Teresa's orphanage and home for the elderly in Calcutta.

In November 2002, she joined her parents in the northern hill station of Dharamsala, where Mr Angus, a travel consultant, celebrated his 50th birthday, and where her parents had often worked to support Tibetan refugees.

Her parents had expected her to fly to Australia for the next leg of her round-the-world trip, but an Israeli businessman she had met persuaded her to go to Berlin with him.

Miss Angus was 22 when she was arrested at the airport with 22lb of hashish in a secret compartment of a suitcase.

She claimed she was duped into taking the case through customs by the businessman. He was later freed by a judge because of a lack of evidence. His acquittal is now the subject of an appeal.

Miss Angus's defence always argued that the suitcase belonged to the businessman and was in his possession. She had borrowed the bag because hers was torn.

In an interview before last week's appeal, her mother, Nadine, 51, said her daughter was an experienced traveller having previously lived and worked in Poland, Austria, Uganda and Mexico.

She said: "I warned Daisy so many times because it was not the first time she had travelled. I said, 'please be careful', and she replied, 'Mum, you always see the wrong in others'."

Following her release, Miss Angus is travelling to Bombay with her mother, a nursery nurse originally from France. She is expected to fly home later this week after getting a new passport or some form of travel documents. Her passport expired while she was in jail.

The Foreign Office in London confirmed last night that Miss Angus had been acquitted.

Daisy Angus Case Information

Briton freed from jail after drug-running appeal victory
From The Times - April 9, 2007 - Fiona Hamilton

A British backpacker who was tricked into smuggling drugs and jailed for ten years in India was released yesterday after having her conviction quashed.

Daisy Angus, 26, said that she believed she was carrying incense sticks rather than a case full of cannabis when she was arrested. She spent almost four years in prison awaiting trial and was sentenced last July.

After being released from the jail in Pune Town and reunited with her mother, Ms Angus said: "I am over the moon to finally be free. Knowing that I was innocent and that justice would eventually prevail is one of the things I have clung onto during the past five gruelling years."

She said that her family, especially her mother, Nadine, had always stood by her. "I just haven't been able to stop hugging her since coming out of jail."

Ms Angus, a fitness instructor from Bournemouth, was travelling around the world in November 2002 and preparing to fly to Australia from Bombay when Yoram Kadesh, an Israeli, persuaded her to fly with him to Amsterdam. He gave her a suitcase to carry in exchange for a free ticket, the court in Bombay was told.

She was arrested at Bombay airport, where officials searched her case and found 221b of cannabis, worth about 35,000. Ms Angus said that she had no idea that the drugs were there but was sentenced to ten years. Her Israeli travelling companion was released for lack of evidence.

Her father, John, and her grandmother died while she was in jail. Last week she won her appeal against the conviction in the High Court in Bombay.

Ayaz Khan, the court lawyer, said: "Daisy has been cleared of all charges. The appeal judge didn't believe the prosecution case against her and acquitted her."

He added that she hoped to return home this week, after the court's full judgment had been published.

After being convicted last year, Miss Angus told the court: "I have already served almost four years in jail for a crime I did not commit. This false case against me killed my father and grandmother."

Edith Dey, a spokeswoman for Ms Angus's lawyer, said that there had never been a strong case against her. "Her friend owned the baggage and the ticket for it was in his name," she said.

"She had seen these packages in the bag and asked him what they were but he told her they were Indian incense sticks. She believed him. She was misled."

Ms Angus, who has two brothers and a sister, has been in hospital several times since being jailed, suffering from malaria, suspected meningitis and other infections. She learnt Hindi in six months and taught fellow inmates English and yoga.

Daisy Angus Case Information

Free after 5 years, the girl accused of Indian drug run

Daisy Angus has walked free after 5 years spent languishing in a prison in India for a drugs smuggling conviction
A backpacker wrongly jailed for drug smuggling in India has spoken of her joy at finally being released.

Daisy Angus, 26, spent nearly five years languishing in a squalid prison after being duped into carrying a case full of cannabis through Mumbai airport in 2002.

She walked free yesterday after being cleared on appeal.

"Knowing that I was innocent and that justice would eventually prevail is one of the things I have clung on to during the past five gruelling years," Miss Angus said.

"I could not have got through this without the love and support of my family, especially my mum who has stood by me throughout, working tirelessly to get me out and prove my innocence.

"I just haven't been able to stop hugging her since coming out of jail."

Her family also spoke of their delight yesterday.

But their celebrations-were tinged with sadness because Miss Angus's father John did not live to see his daughter finally vindicated.

He died in December last year of leukaemia at the age of 53.

Together with Miss Angus's mother Nadine, he had made regular trips to visit his daughter in Yerawada jail near Mumbai.

Speaking on the family's behalf, Miss Angus's lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said yesterday: "Daisy's acquittal notice came through on April 5 and she was released from prison this morning.

"Nadine and Daisy are ecstatic. Nadine was in tears and was very happy - finally she has got justice.

"They are very pleased that it is over and the feeling is one of relief right now. But I am sure that will change. When they sit down and think about what has happened and the awful times Daisy has been through they will have mixed feelings."

Miss Angus's ordeal began when she was arrested in November 2002.

She had flown to India with her mother and father, who was a travel consultant, then decided to go backpacking on her own, planning to fly to Australia.

A few days before she was due to leave, she met Israeli businessman Yoram Kadesh.

The 41-year-old persuaded Miss Angus, from Bournemouth, to travel with him to Amsterdam and gave her a suitcase to carry.

She was stopped by officials at Mumbai airport and 22lbs of cannabis was found in a false bottom in the case.

She said she was conned into carrying the case by Mr Kadesh, who had told her the packages were Indian incense sticks.

After she was convicted of drug smuggling last year and sentenced to ten years, Miss Angus told the court in Mumbai: "I have already served almost four years in jail for a crime I did not commit.

"This false case against me killed my father and grandmother."

To make matters worse, Mr Kadesh was released due to lack of evidence.

Family spokeswoman Edith Dey said: "There was not a very strong case against her in the first place. Her friend owned the baggage and the ticket for it was in his name. He asked her to carry the bag in exchange for a free ticket for her.

"She had seen these packages in the bag and asked him what they were but he told her they were Indian incense sticks.

"She believed him. She was misled."

Nadine, a 51-year-old nursery nurse, said her daughter was an experienced traveller having previously lived and worked in Poland, Austria, Uganda and Mexico.

She said her daughter was terrified when she was arrested then jailed.

"There is no doubt Daisy was set up. She would not get mixed up in drugs, it is not in her nature."

In her time in jail Miss Angus was hospitalised several times, suffering from malaria, suspected meningitis and other infections.

She learnt Hindi in six months and taught fellow inmates how to speak English as well as yoga, which she used to teach at the Littledown leisure centre in Bournemouth.

Miss Angus has two younger brothers, Andrew, 22, and Jonathan, 21, as well as a 25-year-old sister, Tandresse.

Daisy Angus Case Information

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