UK
15/05/2014 07:14 BST | Updated 15/05/2014 10:59 BST

Grandparents Paul and Sandra Dunham, Due For US Extradition, Rushed To Hospital

Two British grandparents due to be extradited today to the United States on fraud charges have been rushed to hospital.

Journalists who were expecting Paul and Sandra Dunham to make a statement from their Northampton home before reporting to a London police station at 10am called police after the couple failed to appear.

Police forced entry to the property just after 7am and two people were taken to hospital.

dunhams

Paul and Sandra Dunham, the retired British couple set to be handed over today for extradition to the US

Dunham, the former chief executive and president of US manufacturer Pace, was indicted on 13 counts of fraud and money laundering by a grand jury in Maryland in 2011, with his wife accused of aiding and abetting them.

According to BBC Radio Northampton, the couple were put in separate ambulance, with Mr Dunham walking with some assistance, and his wife taken in a wheelchair.

A resident, who witnessed the couple being taken to hospital said: "Paul was able to walk out of the house in his pyjamas and slippers but didn’t look at all well.

"Police tried to shield him from a TV crew which turned up by putting up blankets around him.

"Sandra was taken out of the house on a stretcher and could barely be seen. The paramedics then left with the couple without using sirens or blue lights."

Neighbours of the couple yesterday said they had been "very low" since learning they were to be extradited.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said: "I would not be surprised at all if they preferred to die than be swallowed up by the American legal system.

"They have felt completely abandoned by the British Government and have effectively been thrown to the wolves. It would not be a surprise that they tried to end their own lives.

"I know that after they lost their High Court battle they were very low indeed.

"If their actions prove anything it will be that they should not be sent to America. It would not be just or fair to send them to America in their current condition."

The couple "vehemently reject" allegations relating to expenses claims by Mr Dunham while he was working in the US, arguing the spending was sanctioned by Pace's board and that auditors raised no objections.

Dunham told the BBC on Wednesday that he feared being sent to prison for up to year before trial with "rapists and murderers" but if granted bail in the US, he and his wife could take no money with them, and could not afford to live.

He said US prisons had inadequate facilities for the couple's health problems.

Their appeal against extradition was rejected by the European Court of Human Rights earlier this year.

He has also questioned why he and his wife are being sent to stand trial despite suffering mental and physical illnesses while a judge blocked attempts to extradite Haroon Aswat, who is wanted for allegedly conspiring with radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza.

Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice, last month temporarily halted moves by the Home Secretary to extradite mentally ill Aswat unless the US government gives specific assurances protecting his health and human rights.

A statement from Northamptonshire Police said: "Police were called to an address in Collingtree, Northampton, this morning following concerns raised about the welfare of two people.

"Police attended the property at approximately 7.15am, forced entry and called paramedics.

A spokeswoman for East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: "We received a call from Northamptonshire Police at 7.47am concerning the welfare of a male and female.

"A fast response vehicle (FRV) was first on scene followed by two double-crewed ambulances (DCA) who took two patients to Northampton General Hospital."

"Two people were taken to Northampton General Hospital."