SANTIAGO - A former British public schoolboy and promising classical musician faces years in a Chilean prison after bring caught dealing cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy.
Alexander Harrild, 29, who was educated at the £35,000-a-year Dulwich College, moved to the South American country to pursue his career as a French horn player but told a court in Santiago that he turned to a life of crime after a separate business venture struggled, according to The Mail on Sunday. His wife, Maria Jose Moraga Morey, whom Mr Harrild said knew nothing of his criminal enterprise, told the newspaper she was distraught.
“He’s a very stupid boy,” she said, adding that he came from “a very nice family."
Mr Harrild faces up to five years inside Santiago’s brutal Uno prison – a gang-ridden, overcrowded jail and a far cry from his privileged schooling and home life. He has reportedly told police that he is willing to turn informant, revealing details of his underworld contacts, in order to reduce his sentence. In a since deleted Facebook post, apparently sent from inside the prison, he said “Feeling Optimistic,’ and in Spanish: ‘Taste of freedom – it is coming soon.’
He left his family's £1.5 million, six-bedroom home in south London – where his father Patrick Harrild is principal tuba player of the London Symphony Orchestra – six years ago to join the Santiago Philarmonic Orchestra. But when he was arrested outside a bank in the La Reina suburb of the Chilean capital last month, police said his pockets were filled with drugs. Officers said they found marijuana, a fake gun and drugs paraphernalia at the flat he shared with his wife, who is a journalist.
In a court appearance, he told the judge in Spanish: “I always liked to consume drugs and then basically when my business started going badly I had to pay bills.
“I have a real job with a contract ... I had a good job with a decent salary. My business didn’t go well and I needed extra money.” He added, in English, that he then turned to dealing drugs over problems with his tax bill.
Mr Harrild played with the European Youth Orchestra as a teenager and received one of Britain's most expensive educations at Dulwich College, whose alumni include PG Wodehouse, Sir Earnest Shackleton and Nigel Farage. He moved to Santiago five years after leaving school and initially his food delivery business, called Comamos Algo – Let's Eat Something – appeared to do well. However, recent visitors said its premises were shuttered.
Christian Vasque, deputy police commissioner, told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Harrild was arrested after behaving suspiciously outside a bank, and was caught with 16 grams of cocaine, 28 grams of marijuana and 50 ecstasy tablets. He is currently held in a section of Santiago’s 100-year-old Uno prison specially reserved for foreigners, according to Hugo Haeger, a senior Santiago police officer.
“He is in there with murderers and rapists,” he told The Mail on Sunday. “He will be sharing a cell for sure.”
His father withdrew from an LSO concert in Trafalgar Square last month and flew to Chile to visit his son after learning of his arrest. This week, rather than sharing a cell with some of Santiago's most notorious prisoners, Mr Harrild had been due to perform in a production of Madame Butterfly at the Municipal Theatre of Santiago.
By Rob Crilly - The Telegraph/June 28, 2015
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