The family of a British man jailed in the Philippines since 2009 are hopeful that he will be freed in time for Christmas.
Kevin Taylor, aged 53, was found guilty of running a recruit scam in 2014 — five years after he was first locked up on suspicion of the crime he has consistently denied.
His Filipina wife Charlene, 39, said he is now being held in an immigration detention centre awaiting deportation. “He is very happy, very excited to be coming home,” she told the Swindon Advertiser today (Thursday, November 1).
Charlene was also convicted of “defrauding jobseekers in the Philippines with promises of employment in the UK”, and was released from prison in September.
She described the overcrowded conditions in San Mateo Prison, where they were first held. She said: “In a cell that was about 25m by 25m there were 70 to 120 inmates, while I was in a cell of the same size but with only 22 female detainees.
“Male prisons are overcrowded and men have a different mentality. He was rarely allowed to move outside his cell.
“Kevin had to endure the emotional trauma of being in a place he shouldn’t be, with less food he became ill.
“San Mateo was harsh on Kevin. I needed to fight with the guards to let him out for exercise.”
After he was eventually convicted and sentenced to 12 years, Kevin was moved to New Bilibid maximum security prison in Muntinlupa, Manila.
Lasting health toll
Charlene, who has three children with her husband, described the lasting toll the experience had taken on Kevin.
“Kevin is not so good health-wise, both physically and emotionally. He is still receiving medication for high blood pressure, depression and skin scabies,” she said.
In February 2015, we reported on how the couple had been given a false hope of release following a Papal visit to the Philippines. To mark the occasion, the government announced that 200 presidential pardons would be granted as a gift to the Pope.
Despite being told his case was being considered on health grounds, Kevin was not among those released.
News of Kevin’s forthcoming release has been welcomed by his local Member of Parliament, Justin Tomlinson. He said: “I am pleased that after this drawn out process, Kevin will soon be able to return home to his parents.
“I have repeatedly raised concerns about Kevin’s treatment while he was prison in the Philippines, both in the House of Commons and in conversations with government ministers.
“It is now important that the Filipino authorities work with our embassy staff to ensure Kevin’s return to the UK is done quickly so I will continue to do all I can to support Kevin and his family.”
A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday said: “Our staff have been assisting a British man in the Philippines since 2009 and continue to do so. We are in touch with the Philippine authorities about his deportation to the UK.”
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