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Sur In English May 2013

May 24, 2013

Don’t come to the Costa del Crime to escape the police, warns ex-con

Criminals on the run from the law should think again before heading to Spain, according to a Marbella based ex-con turned legal liaison


Jason Coghlan - Criminals on the run from the law should think again before heading to Spain, according to a Marbella based ex-con turned legal liaison

It was once a popular bolt-hole for notorious criminals, undesirables and generally unpleasant characters on the run from the law.

Back in the 1970s there were so many hiding on the Costa del Sol that it even gave rise to the rather unflattering moniker the “Costa del Crime”.

But according to Marbella-based ex-con Jason Coghlan, this is now the worst place for British fugitives to hide from the police.

And the 43-year-old convicted armed robber certainly knows what he’s talking about.
In 1999 the Mancunian dramatically vaulted out of the dock at Trafford Magistrates during a court appearance before spending two weeks on the run.

He was then re-arrested and sentenced to 12 years behind bars at a maximum security prison.
A short spell in Alhaurín prison followed a few years later, where he struggled to find a decent lawyer.

But the expat has turned his life around and now runs a Marbella based business acting as a legal liaison for foreigners in Spanish prisons.

Speaking to SUR in English, Jason, Managing Director at JaCogLaw, said he came up with the idea from his prison cell in Alhaurín de la Torre, after being “failed by my own lawyers”.
He explained: “When on the exercise yard all I ever heard from my peers were complaints regarding lawyers. I thought I can do some good here and I can change things for the better.”
After writing to Antonio Flores at Lawbird in Marbella for advice, he started his business, which has so far had more than 30 clients.

He said: “We have had three ‘not guilty’ verdicts (in two drugs cases) and two resolutions, which meant non-custodial sentences for our clients.”

One potential new client who they have been in contact with in the last week is 31-year-old Brit Andrew Moran, who also escaped the law after jumping from the dock.

Video footage watched by thousands around the world showed the fellow Mancunian running from the police after they surprised him at his villa in Calpe, near Benidorm, last week.

But Moran’s arrest shows that criminals are still coming despite increased cooperation between Spanish and UK police forces – something that baffles Jason.

“Why oh why do guys on the run still come to Spain? I was walking around the exercise yard with a fellow con at a maximum security prison in Cambridgeshire in 2001 and I said to him, ‘Why the f*ck did you choose Spain?’ He said, ‘It’s just where we have traditionally always gone ever since Ronnie Knight’. And that was seriously the answer from one of the most intelligent and well resourced villains that I have ever met. A lot of villains are not very imaginative and follow tradition to their own detriment.

“My advice for anyone currently running would be to contact a good law firm and get the matter sorted out because a life on the run is no life whatsoever. But if that is not an option then my advice is do yourself a favour and don’t come to Spain!”

Most of Jason’s clients are British or Irish but he also has two Dutch men and a German on the books.

He explained: “The first thing that we do for our clients is ensure that they understand the whole process by translating all of the court documents and evidence into their first language and then we spend time discussing tactics and available options. We work closely with all of the law firms that we engage on behalf of our clients and our involvement exists from initial contact to the conclusion of the case.”

Jason, who spent the proceeds of his crimes in Marbella during the 1990s, now works on the right side of the law, something he attributed to growing older and wiser.
He added: “Anyone reading about the story of ex-villains involved in bank robberies and car chases followed by expensive holidays, beautiful women and la vida loca has got to admit that it sounds exciting – and make no mistake, it is!

“But it’s a young man’s game and I grew out of it during eight years of the slowest pace of life that one could possibly imagine in the most austere circumstances.”

Article from Sur In English, 24 May, 2013