Coke baron’s bid to win freedom

Mark Lilley is seized by armed police after his arrest in Spain last year
Mark Lilley is seized by armed police after his arrest in Spain last year
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A notorious drugs baron who was imprisoned after spending years on the run in Spain is set to launch a legal bid to overturn his jailing.

Mark Lilley, once considered one of the most dangerous criminals in the region, believes the extradition process which brought him back to Britain was riddled with errors.

His legal team, headed by barrister Anthony Barraclough, are this week set to lodge papers at the High Court challenging the legality of his jailing.

Heavily-tattooed Lilley is currently serving the remainder of a 23-year term after fleeing these shores in 2000 before his sentencing for conspiracy for supply drugs.

The 42-year-old was captured by police living in the Costa de Sol after years of evading justice when armed officers burst into his luxury villa.

They found the shaven-headed brute cowering naked in a panic room at his mansion.

After a short spell in the Spanish capital Madrid, he was flown back to Britain and ordered to serve the rest of his jail term.

It is understood Lilley, who recently changed his name to Tony Alan Tague, contests whether it was legal for British judges to ignore a request from the Spanish judiciary to submit him to a fresh trial once he was returned back to Britain.

However, a spokesman for Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the Spanish authorities had no power to compel their British counterparts to order a retrial.

“We are satisfied that the extradition of Mr Lilley from Spain was entirely lawful,” a CPS spokesman said.

“Mr Lilley was legally represented during proceedings in Spain. It is open to him to seek leave to appeal his conviction with the High Court in the usual way. Should he do so, we would contest any appeal.”

Lilley led the high-life during his 13 years on the run in Spain.

He lived in a heavily-fortified mansion paid for from the proceeds of his criminal empire. His life in Spain, however, is a world away from his beginnings in Newton where his violence past means his name continues to inspire fear among many residents.