Indian-origin businessman freed from UK jail accidentally

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.

By: PTI | London | Published:September 5, 2016 7:12 pm

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 5.30pm 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.

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 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”.