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Last Updated: Friday, 26 November, 2004, 21:40 GMT
Sailor's Spanish jail nightmare
The family of a marine engineer held in a Spanish prison on drug smuggling charges have spoken of the strain of his ordeal.

John Lauder Packwood, from Cowes on Isle of Wight, was contracted to deliver a former naval yacht from Southampton to Morocco in April 1997.

The boat was searched in Agadir and the crew were sent home. In June 1997, they were charged with smuggling cocaine.

Jane Amestoy said Mr Packwood, seized in Spain this October, was "terrified".

He is terrified really and describes the prison as a giant lunatic asylum
Mr Packwood's girlfriend Jane Amestoy

Mr Packwood's sister, Catherine, from Wiltshire, said: "It has caused enormous strain and affected the whole family.

"Life for all of us has stopped and we are working flat out to secure his release."

Mr Packwood, 41, was arrested in Malaga under an international arrest warrant issued by the Moroccan authorities.

Similar warrants were also issued for the rest of the crew who have been charged with smuggling two tons of the class A drug.

'Secure his release'

Four MEPs for south east England - Peter Skinner (Labour), Baroness Nicholson (Lib Dem), Daniel Hannen (Conservative) and Caroline Lucas (Green) - have signed a letter stating they believe he is innocent.

On Thursday, they sent a letter to the Moroccan ambassador to the EU in Brussels.

At a news conference in London Mr Packwood's 39-year-old girlfriend Jane Amestoy - also from Cowes - said: "He is terrified really and describes the prison as a giant lunatic asylum.

"He has not had any access to information about what is going on and has had very little communication with solicitors."

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