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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 13:54 GMT
Families await plane-spotters' return
Paul Coppin married Lesley early in 2001
Paul and Lesley Coppin may not be home for Christmas
The families of British plane-spotters held in Greece have given a cautious welcome to the news they are to be released on bail.

Relatives of the 12 Britons say they are relieved their loved ones could soon be coming home.

But they have expressed grave doubts about their ability to pay the bail of five million drachmas, about 9,100, for each defendant.

It sounds to me like the Greek authorities are holding them to ransom

Steve Warren
Steve Warren, son of Lesley Coppin of Mildenhall, Suffolk, branded the decision to continue to press charges against the plane-spotters "disgusting".

He said it was "good news" that his mother would be freed on bail, but said there was "no valid alternative" to releasing the 12 completely.

"I do not understand why they have been charged with misdemeanour when there is no evidence against them," he said.

He added that he thought there was little hope his mother, 51, and her husband, Paul Coppin, 45, would be home for Christmas.

Legal action

"Unless they are going to be home for Christmas there is nothing to celebrate.

"I do not want my mother spending Christmas in jail."

Mr Warren said his family did not have a "hope in hell" of raising the bail money at this time of year.

Lesley Coppin
Lesley Coppin is the only woman in the group
"We are not a rich family. It sounds to me like the Greek authorities are holding them to ransom."

"The Greek authorities are not making any friends, only enemies.

"We want to take them to the European Court of Human Rights for wrongful arrest and wrongful detention."

Betty Fagan, whose son Gary, 28, from Kegworth, Leicestershire, is also being held, told the BBC she was "really pleased" the plane-spotters were being released.

When asked about the bail money, she said: "We will have to find it somewhere - we just want to get him home."

She added she would be wary of her son continuing to pursue his interest in aviation outside the UK.


Perdita Norris, of Uxbridge, west London, whose husband, Peter, 52, is one of the accused, said she was hoping the British Foreign Office would contact her "to discuss the practicalities of what we have to do to get them back home".

I am overwhelmed that common sense has started to prevail

Ron Arnold
She said the bail money was "a lot of money to find".

"Not everyone can come up with that straight away."

But she added: "I am hopeful that something can be sorted out.

"I do not think any of the members of the group have done anything wrong and I am sure they will not be convicted."


Maria Kennedy, of Buckingham, whose brother Antoni Adamiak, 37, of London, is being held, said he was "very relieved".

"I will not really believe it until he is back and I can see him," she said.

"I just want to know now what I need to do practically and what I need to do about this money,"

"I am just desperate to get him home."

Ron Arnold, who is waiting for his son, Graham, 38, from Ottershaw, Surrey, to be released, said: "I am overwhelmed that common sense has started to prevail."

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