Bankers fly out to face US fraud trial

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The Independent Online

The NatWest Three took off for the US today to face a fraud trial as their lawyer launched a new attack on the British Government over their extradition.

David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby boarded a flight from Gatwick to Houston, Texas, after reporting to Croydon police station in south London to begin their journey, accompanied by US marshals.

Their lawyer Mark Spragg said: "It's a very sad day. They have said goodbye to their families and they have no idea when they are going to come back.

"It's all so unnecessary, that's the real problem here.

"This could easily have been tried in the UK.

"That's where the victim is, that's where all the witnesses are, but no, the Government insisted on them being extradited on a very unfair, one-sided treaty."

Speaking outside the police station, Mr Bermingham, 43, whose wife was by his side, said he had been "absolutely bowled over" by the support he had received.

He told reporters: "It is a very sad day because most of you are British and you got let down today by your own government."

Referring to Neil Coulbeck, a witness in the case who was found dead in parkland in east London on Tuesday, he said: "We got screwed but there is a real tragedy. A man has died. I'll be coming home one day."

He added: "We are hopeful we will get bail but you never know."

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