Man held over abduction death

DETECTIVES investigating the fatal abduction of Stephanie Hammill, 20, who was killed after a night out have arrested a man in Greece.

Miss Hammill, a travel agent, was walking home with her fiance, James Garland, in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, when they tried to flag down a taxi. A dark-coloured, four-door saloon car, which the couple believed was a taxi, pulled up in Balne Lane and Miss Hammill climbed into the back. It drove off before Mr Garland could get in.

It is believed that Miss Hammill either got out of or was pushed out of the car and ended up in the path of a taxi, which killed her after she was dragged 25 yards along Batley Road on 29 November, 2003.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Greek police involved in the arrest have said that the 27-year-old man arrested in connection with Miss Hammill's death was a Greek national, who was a student in Wakefield at the time of her death.

In November last year, detectives from West Yorkshire flew to Greece after a black Mercedes C180 saloon car they believed to have been involved was traced to the Greek mainland. It was shipped back to the Forensic Science Service laboratories in Wetherby for examination.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police confirmed that Greek police had arrested a man in connection with the death and that they were seeking his extradition to the UK.

The spokesman said: "The man, who was arrested on Monday, appeared before a judge in the city of Thessaloniki on Tuesday as part of this process and was remanded in custody pending a further hearing.

"Detectives have been working closely with the Greek authorities since last year, assisted by the British Embassy in Athens."

The police spokesman added: "Officers will continue to work closely with the Greek authorities as part of their efforts to see the man brought back to the UK."

Greek detectives involved in the arrest said that they had arrested the man at his home on Monday in the holiday resort area of Chalkidiki, near Salonica.

After appearing before a judge in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, he was remanded in custody. Police in Salonica said the man is currently in the detention centre in the charge of Salonica security police.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They said the investigation and arrest was a joint operation by Greek and British police authorities, which began last year once the car allegedly used in the abduction was found in northern Greece.

The arrest was carried out based on a European arrest warrant request issued by West Yorkshire Police. It was followed up yesterday by a request for his extradition.

A local court official in Salonica confirmed the extradition request from British authorities.

He said the request would be considered by the Salonica Council of Appeal Court Judges in September. Until then, the arrested man will remain in custody and has the right to appeal against any extradition request.

In February, Mohammed Ashiq, a taxi driver in charge of the second vehicle on the night Miss Hammill was killed, was found guilty of failing to stop after the accident and failing to report it to the police.

He walked free from Dewsbury Magistrates' Court and was ordered to do 200 hours of community service and banned from driving. During his trial, he claimed that he thought the impact with her body was just "wind pressure".