Britain’s ‘most wanted woman’ arrested in Spain after evading justice for nine years

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A Briton who hid from police waiting to arrest her by dressing up in a wig has finally been detained after nine years on the run.

Our sister title Daily Mirror reports how Sarah Panitzke, 48, disappeared during her trial in London in 2013 for laundering £1billion in a mobile phone VAT fraud.

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Two years later, she escaped from a Spanish bolthole as officers closed in.

Panitzke was surprised last Sunday while walking her dogs in Santa Barbara, between Barcelona and Valencia.

The leader of the elite Fugitive Task Force team that caught her yesterday recounted her disguise and dramatic escape in 2015.

He said, “It was like something out of a movie.

“She appeared at his door to smoke and an officer came by for a closer look.

“She saw him and changed clothes, put on a wig and a small backpack before heading into the mountains next to the house a few moments later.

“It’s very rare to find people as prepared as she was.”

He revealed after his arrest that Panitzke, who lived under the pseudonym Maria Antonietta, said she felt like she had already had her day, having lived in isolation for so many years. The officer added: ‘She also complained that she could only buy cheap gin for her gin and tonic when her money was running low.’

Panitzke, of Fulford, North Yorks, was sentenced to eight years’ absence for fraud. She’s in prison near Madrid, fighting extradition.

Informed of her arrest, mum Pauline, 77, said from her home in Market Weighton, East Yorks: ‘At least I know she is safe and healthy.

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