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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 October 2006, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
'Mystery' prisoner baffles court
The unidentified man
The age, nationality or name of the man is not known
A mystery man arrested two weeks ago for trespass and burglary has baffled police and immigration officials.

Magistrates were told the authorities have no idea of his name, age, nationality, or even his language.

The court at Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, was told he had broken into the same house three times, washed himself and cooked food, and stole a sewing kit.

The man - referred to as the prisoner or defendant - was remanded in custody as no plea could be taken.

Laura Carthew, prosecuting, said police had tried every means possible to identify or communicate with him.

We don't have any information at all and we are unable to communicate in any way with the defendant before you
Solicitor Stephen Lloyd

The man, who appeared to be in his 30s with dark receding hair and olive skin, is alleged to have broken into one house in Tycroes, near Ammanford.

"A map of the world has been offered to the defendant with no response," she said.

She also said they presented him with flags from all the countries in the world, but this met with a similar response.

His fingerprints have been checked against the national database and the immigration services are also involved.

He has briefly spoken once in a language thought to be Amharic, but when a translator was called they said they did not understand him and had no clue to the dialect he was speaking.

Representing him, Stephen Lloyd said: "We don't have any information at all and we are unable to communicate in any way with the defendant before you."

'Small tribe'

Magistrates had accepted jurisdiction of the case but it will have to be transferred to the crown court as the man could not give his consent for a summary trial.

"He has to consent for a summary trial to take place," said Mr Lloyd.

"He can't communicate therefore the matter will have to proceed to the crown court. I don't think there is any other option."

Mike Reed
The gentleman himself really communicates extremely little
Solicitor Mike Reed

Magistrates remanded the man in custody until 2 November.

They said he may as well appear via video link as he did not appear to know what was happening.

Both the defence and prosecution said efforts would continue in a bid to identify him.

After Thursday's hearing, the man's solicitor Mike Reed said in his 30 years' experience he had never come across a similar situation.

He said that in a previous hearing, the court heard how writing in a book apparently discarded by the man had been identified as belonging to a "small tribe at the bottom of the Atlas mountains" in Morocco.

"The gentleman himself really communicates extremely little," Mr Reed told BBC News.

"The police found a notebook that he had discarded and it had certain writing on. They took it to an expert who said it was similar to a language used by this Berber tribe."

Mr Reed said the police had not been able to find a translator who spoke the language.




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