Northampton couple Paul and Sandra Dunham coping well under house arrest in America

Paul and Sandra Dunham are currently under house arrest in North Carolina and are reported to be doing well.
Paul and Sandra Dunham are currently under house arrest in North Carolina and are reported to be doing well.

Northampton couple Paul and Sandra Dunham’s house arrest in the United States is going as ‘well as it can possibly go’ according to a spokesperson for South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom.

The Colingtree couple, both 58, are accused by American prosecutors of a wide-ranging embezzlement scheme to defraud their former company of $1.4m (£820,000).

They were extradited to the United States in May to face the charges and spent a month in a maximum security prison in Maryland following an initial court hearing.

However, their friends, Annie Hallinan and Mike Jones, agreed to put up their house in Southern Pines, North Carolina, as collateral to ensure the Dunhams’ bail.

The couple were released in June and are currently staying at the home under strict house arrest - though they are allowed to leave the home to attend church on Sundays.

Ms Leadsom had sought assurances from ministers and the US authorities on the Collingtree grandparents’ pre-trial treatment before proceeding with extradition and this morning her personal assistant, Luke Graystone, confirmed he had met with Annie Hallinan for lunch in London yesterday to hear how Mr and Mrs Dunham are coping.

Mr Graystone said: “I think Paul and Sandra are a lot better looked after now. Annie said they are eating well and concentrating on working on their defence.”

He added that he had met Mr and Mrs Dunham immediately after they were granted bail at a court in Maryland.

Former engineer Mr Dunham had reportedly shared his cell with a convicted gun runner and “looked terrible frankly”, following his release, Mr Graystone said.

Ms Leadsom is due to meet with the Dunhams’ public defender Debbie Boardman next week. She has been appointed as the couple’s lawyer for the trial, which is likely to take place next year.

Mr Graystone said: “She (Debbie) is working hard on the case, which we are grateful for.

“We were initially worried that a state-appointed lawyer would not be able to devote enough time to Paul and Sandra. But she has been absolutely brilliant, she is very tenacious in trying to prove their innocence.

“They couldn’t be in better hands.”