A FORMER British soldier ‘trapped’ in Spain for nearly seven years has finally been given his passport back.
Tim Hawkins, an ex-officer with the Royal Artillery, has been unable to return to the UK since he was arrested in May 2008 while on a family holiday on the Costa Brava.
He has only seen his two sons three times since, missing a huge chunk of their childhood.
Hawkins, 57, had his passport seized and has been living in Torremolinos since he was detained on an international arrest warrant at Girona Airport.
Caught up in a tax fraud scandal in which he played an ‘unknowing’ minor role, he was unable to leave the country or work.
With nowhere else to turn, the former financial advisor contacted the Olive Press in January and finally his fortunes have changed.
We publicised his plight and after setting up a crowdfunding site (www.gofund.me/k68kz0) to support himself, the courts have returned his passport.
However, it’s not a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card. While he will now be allowed to fly back to the UK to see his family, he must remain in Spain for the next two years and serve two months community service, which he hopes to do with charity Cudeca.
But at last, he can ‘finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.’
Particularly, since army charity Officers of the Legions has chipped in agreeing to give him quarterly payments of €500 to help him stay afloat.
“It is such a relief,” he said. “Thanks must go to the Officers Association and of course the Olive Press for all your support.”
He now hopes to fly back to the UK this summer to visit his two sons, whom he has only seen three times since being arrested.
“I am hoping to fly back for the school holidays,” he said. “I have missed watching them grow up and can’t wait to making up for lost time.”
To read the first Olive Press coverage of his story, click here.