Family of Brit jailed in Egypt scammed out of £10k by fake lawyers

Laura Plummer has been locked up for nearly a month


The family of a British woman jailed in Egypt for taking painkillers into the country revealed Egyptian scammers took advantage of their plight.

In trying to secure her release, Laura Plummer's relatives paid £10,000 to two "lawyers" to represent her - but they were instead con-artists who ran off with the money after being paid.

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Laura, 33, has been locked up in Egypt for nearly a month after she was arrested for taking strips of Tramadol into the country for her boyfriend's sore back.

But the Egyptian president has said he "will not interfere" in the case.

Credits: Facebook

Laura Plummer (centre) is being held in Egypt

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Her family say the drugs were only worth £23, but Laura has been told she could face a 25-year sentence or even the "death penalty".

Thousands have signed a petition to free her, with her father telling the Hull Daily Mail he fears she will "not survive" jail if she is prosecuted.

Her dad Neville shared the messages he had received from the bogus lawyer.

"The first message I got from him said 'do not worry, I am now in the police station waiting for the officer in charge. I will contact you'," he told the Daily Record.

"I said thank you, and he replied 'what do you mean?' – I thought that was a bit odd.

"He then said I had to pay £5,000 to the court, and also partly to cover the fees for the office."

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Laura's dad said the scammer managed to get into the police station in Egypt, where he met the "terrified" woman and took £1,500 from her.

He then took £1,000 from Laura's mum when she flew over to Egypt the following day, before duping Neville out of £7,500.

"People have questioned why I was so stupid to do it, but I felt duty-bound to my daughter to do it," Neville said.

"That's all we had to cling onto, but unfortunately we were clinging onto a conman.

"He could have asked for £20,000 or £30,000 and I would have paid it – I just want to get Laura home."

In an exclusive interview with American broadcaster CNBC, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi spoke about the case.

After being asked by interviewer Hadley Gamble if he could "send a message" to her parents that Laura would be OK, President el-Sisi responded: "I want to say that we are very keen on matters concerning the judiciary.

"We don't interfere at all in judicial matters in Egypt. I always repeat this. Egyptian courts act without any interference and will never permit me to interfere in any matters.

Credits: Getty Images North America

The president of Egypt said Egyptian courts act without any interference and will never permit me him interfere (file photo)

"They practice total independence in their jurisdiction, in general.

"The message I say to anyone who is following me, here in Egypt, we have a just and fair judiciary that works professionally abiding by the law and the constitution, and nobody can interfere with their work.

"They are eager to bring justice according to the Egyptian law."

Laura, of east Hull, was travelling to the country to visit her Egyptian boyfriend, Omar, who she visits up to four times a year.

Her family say she is "the most innocent and law-abiding girl" and was completely unaware taking Tramadol and Naproxen was a criminal offence in Egypt.

They say she has expressed suicidal thoughts since being in jail and were worried for her safety if she continued to be kept in the squalid conditions.

"Laura flew out on October 9, and the following day I got a text from her which said 'Dad, please answer your phone, I am in trouble'," her father said.

"We are distraught, upset beyond words, and are terrified of the consequences that could happen to Laura."

Her next court hearing takes place on Thursday. The full interview with CNBC will be aired on Tuesday morning.

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