On-the-run drug-dealing pensioner last seen stepping off plane in Florida as he’s due in court as part of Corby drug conspiracy case

He was supposed to be sentenced for his part in a major drug dealing conspiracy.. but instead he boarded a plane
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A man who had been due to face a lengthy jail term for his part in a huge Northamptonshire drug dealing conspiracy failed to turn up at court – and a judge was told he was last seen stepping off a plane in Florida.

Malcolm John Chapman, 79, who lives in a smart new flat in High Street, Upton, was caught dealing amphetamine as part of a complex network of pushers back during 2019 and 2021.

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The court was told that he’d been a wholesale customer of a gang from Liverpool and was thought to have been involved in ten trips by Liverpool drug dealers to Northamptonshire. Officers had found 2.8kg of the drug in his flat in September 2021.

Malcolm John Chapman was last spotted using his passport at Tampa International Airport. Images: Northamptonshire Police / GettyMalcolm John Chapman was last spotted using his passport at Tampa International Airport. Images: Northamptonshire Police / Getty
Malcolm John Chapman was last spotted using his passport at Tampa International Airport. Images: Northamptonshire Police / Getty

Although he did have ten previous convictions for 20 offences, none were related to drug dealing.

He’d turned up for hearing after hearing at Northampton Crown Court after pleading guilty while awaiting sentencing.

And on Thursday (May 25), he was finally due to hear how many of his remaining years he would have to spend in jail.

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But in a dramatic start to the three-day sentencing hearing, Chapman’s barrister Nathalie Carter was left explaining to the judge ‘with some surprise’ that her client could not be traced.

The nine men - out of a 10-strong gang - who were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court today. They are (from top left)  Wayne Toner, Paul Campbell, James Connor,  Connor Sherwood, (from bottom left) Gilbert Stirling, Arron Vidler, Stephen Davidson, David Madden and Darryl Marshall. Not pictured is Malcolm Chapman who is on the run.The nine men - out of a 10-strong gang - who were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court today. They are (from top left)  Wayne Toner, Paul Campbell, James Connor,  Connor Sherwood, (from bottom left) Gilbert Stirling, Arron Vidler, Stephen Davidson, David Madden and Darryl Marshall. Not pictured is Malcolm Chapman who is on the run.
The nine men - out of a 10-strong gang - who were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court today. They are (from top left) Wayne Toner, Paul Campbell, James Connor, Connor Sherwood, (from bottom left) Gilbert Stirling, Arron Vidler, Stephen Davidson, David Madden and Darryl Marshall. Not pictured is Malcolm Chapman who is on the run.

She said that his ‘age and vulnerability’ meant police had attended his address and forced entry. He wasn’t there. The court issued a warrant for his immediate arrest.

On Friday, the second day of the hearing, there were audible gasps from the public gallery as Ms Carter said police had made enquiries overnight and discovered that on Tuesday (May 26), Chapman had boarded a Virgin Atlantic flight from London Heathrow airport.

He’d touched down in Tampa at 8.55pm and disappeared into the Florida sunshine.

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Ms Carter asked His Honour Judge David Herbert KC to delay sentencing him, and she was told that he would, because of Chapman’s age.

But Judge Herbert warned: “He’s been nimble enough to get on a flight to Tampa. I won’t sentence him today but I might in a couple of weeks if he’s not traced.”

If you’ve seen Chapman, or know of his whereabouts, contact Northamptonshire Police on 101.