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Former drug cartel pilot jailed for attempted murder with an ax

April 8, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Former drug cartel pilot jailed for attempted murder with an ax

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A judge in the United Kingdom has sentenced a former drug cartel pilot who attempted to murder an unwanted lodger with an ax while he was sleeping.

Andrew Barnes, 61, struck Luke Down four times with an ax to his head, leaving him with severe brain injuries and close to death.

According to the BBC, Barnes, who is from the U.K., confessed he tried to kill the victim and was sentenced to 15 and a half years.

The judge referred to the attack as an “impetuous moment of madness.”

Andrew Barnes, who used to fly cocaine out of Colombia, tried to kill his lodger with an ax

The 29-year-old victim had been lodging at Barnes’s flat for free when he was attacked while he slept.

He was paying his way by providing alcohol and food, but Barnes asserted he had grown violent and abusive towards him.

The cause behind the attack was Down’s threat to claim squatter’s rights and stay in the flat.

The court heard how the injuries caused by the ax would have been deadly if Barnes had taken off the protective cover on the blade.

He was hired by Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel to fly cocaine loads to remote U.S. airstrips and Caribbean islands.

Andrew Barnes primarily worked for Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder, who he testified against at his trial in Jacksonville in 1988.

Carlos Lehder, who was portrayed as the character ‘Diego’ in Johnny Depp’s blockbuster film ‘Blow’ became one of the richest men in Colombia

The planes departed Colombia filled with cocaine and returned packed with so much U.S. currency that drug lords such as Pablo Escobar built apartments with millions hidden in the walls.

He was sentenced to eight years behind bars in the U.S. After admitting to his role in the drug smuggling operation and agreeing to testify against Lehder, he was moved to the witness protection program.

The former drug cartel pilot returned to Britain in the 1990s and plunged into a spiral of substance abuse.

At his sentencing for the most recent attack, Judge Justice Dingemans said “While he [Down] has made a remarkable physical recovery, he is going to have serious long-term health consequences. This was a spontaneous attempt to kill because you were fed up with Down saying he was going to claim squatter’s rights and also lying on your bed. There is significant mitigation that he undoubtedly provoked you, although that is not to say there was any justification for this madness.”

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