Death crash pair facing extradition

TWO cousins from Essex who were involved in a car crash in Cyprus which killed a moped rider have lost the latest step in their legal bid to avoid extradition.

Annie Davidson

TWO cousins from Essex who were involved in a car crash in Cyprus which killed a moped rider have lost the latest step in their legal bid to avoid extradition.

Luke Atkinson, 25, and Michael Binnington, 24, from Witham, are facing three years in prison on the holiday island after being passengers in a hire car which hit and killed a teenager.

The pair spent six months behind bars in Cyprus on remand before being acquitted of manslaughter and allowed to return to the UK.


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Car driver Julian Harrington, Mr Atkinson's uncle, admitted manslaughter and grievous bodily harm and was jailed for 15 years for the 2006 accident.

He is currently serving his sentence in a prison on the Isle of Wight and is continuing to appeal for it to be reduced.

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Although originally acquitted, the Cyprus Supreme Court later overturned this and ordered that Atkinson and Binnington each serve three years for manslaughter.

The men opposed the extradition application but a UK judge ordered they be returned to Cyprus.

Most recently, lawyers for the pair had appealed to the UK Supreme Court for leave to appeal against the extradition order but this has been turned down.

Yesterday their solicitor Karen Todner said the pair were expected to be extradited to Cyprus within the next few days.

She said she had contacted Home Secretary Alan Johnson asking him to allow the men to serve their sentence in a UK prison.

“It seems incredible that despite both parties being acquitted of any crime in Cyprus they can still be ordered to serve three years imprisonment,” she said.

Mr Atkinson's mother, Averil Atkinson, said last night that the men would be meeting with lawyers today to discuss the possibility of an appeal to the European Court.

MEP Richard Howitt, who has backed the cousins in their bid to fight extradition, said yesterday: “European law should protect the rights of defendants as much as victims, and I have no doubt that Michael and Luke are today the victims of a miscarriage of justice that should never be allowed to happen under European law.”

A Home Office spokesman said last night: “The Home Secretary has no role in dealing with extradition requests from EU member states and the issue as to whether someone should be extradited is a matter for the courts.

“The Extradition Act 2003 does not allow extradition to be refused on the basis that someone in the UK agrees to serve a foreign sentence here and there are no plans to amend the Extradition Act 2003.”

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