LONDON: An alcoholic Indian-origin businessman, who was accidentally released last month by a London jail has surrendered to police after enjoying two weeks of freedom.
Hoffman Singh even posed for a selfie with Scotland Yard officers on duty at the Notting Hill Carnival last weekend after wardens at Pentonville Prison in north London sent him home in a taxi instead of putting him into a van for a court hearing.
“As far as everyone was aware, I should have been tucked up in a cell while I was out partying with the best of them in Notting Hill. I’ve been arrested four times in the last six weeks, all for minor alcohol-related incidents.”
“But after the last one, the magistrates lost patience and remanded me in custody,” the 44-year-old courier firm owner told ‘The Sun’ newspaper.
“I was due to have a court hearing on August 25, but no one came to collect me from my cell. I told the wardens but they didn’t seem to care. Then at 5.30 pm I was just reading the paper when a warden came round and said, ‘Pack your stuff, you’re going home’. I didn’t understand it but just went along with it. I thought maybe the case had been dropped. It didn’t cross my mind that it was a mistake,” he added.
Mr Singh is accused of common assault, wasting police time, being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle, failing to provide a specimen and racially-aggravated harassment.
He contacted his lawyers and they arranged for him to hand himself in at a police station. He now awaits a hearing in the coming days.
“I am not a master criminal, just an alcoholic businessman who has made mistakes, needs help and wants to make changes,” he said.
The UK Prison Service confirmed Mr Singh had been released in error.
A spokesperson said: “These incidents are rare and the vast majority are returned to custody very quickly. We thoroughly investigate each incident and work closely with the police to recapture offenders at large”.