London football coach jailed for 25 years in Dubai over cannabis oil found in car

13 October 2021, 16:36

Billy Hood has been jailed for 25 years
Billy Hood has been jailed for 25 years. Picture: Detained in Dubai

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A football coach from London has been jailed for 25 years in Dubai after cannabis oil was found in his car.

Billy Hood, 24, from Notting Hill, was arrested on January 31 after officers found four small bottles of CBD vape oil - which is legal in the UK - in his car.

He had only recently moved to the country.

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He told campaign group Detained in Dubai he was "shocked, scared and confused" when police suddenly turned up and demanded to search his home and car.

When they found the oil, which he claims had been left in his car by a friend, he was taken to an isolation cell in a police station, where he stayed for 14 days "without any hygiene products".

He said, despite not knowing the language, he was forced by police forced to sign a confession written in Arabic.

He has been jailed for trafficking, supplying and possession of CBD vape oil.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, said: "Forced and coerced confessions are commonplace in Dubai."

Billy Hood's family are appealing his sentence
Billy Hood's family are appealing his sentence. Picture: Detained in Dubai

Mr Hood's mother Breda said: "I have hidden myself away, crying and crying when I imagine what our sweet boy is going through.

"It is the worst stress I've ever been through and I feel helpless."

His brother Alexander added: "It’s been difficult to cope with Billy's ongoing detention and the idea that he could be in a UAE prison until he’s 50. 

"Billy is a healthy, fitness focussed guy. Unlike other kids, mum never had to worry about him getting into drugs or smoking. 

"It's one thing if you've done something wrong but a whole other story when your life is being ruined as though you're a criminal when you're not."

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: "We are giving consular support to a British man who has been imprisoned in the UAE."

Mr Hood's family is appealing against the sentence and have launched a fundraising page to pay for legal fees.