The drug dealing gran of Big Brother star Josie Gibson has finally been collared – after 12 YEARS on the run.
Diane Gibson, 72, was dubbed “Britain’s most wanted granny” when she fled the law in 2000 after being convicted of drugs charges.
The gangster grandmother disappeared after she was found guilty of possessing with intent to supply 3kg of cocaine worth £240,000.
Detectives from the National Crime Squad (NCS) had feared she had changed her appearance to evade capture, or escaped to Spain.
But police officers found her on Tuesday at her daughter’s home near Yate, Bristol, and arrested the pensioner after a 12-and-a-half year fight to evade justice.
She appeared at Bristol Crown Court later the same day along with a number of family members, including reality star Josie, who attended to support her.
It is understood the elderly fugitive, who now has mobility issues, has spent the majority of the past decade living in the north.
Nicholas O’Brien, prosecuting, said Gibson was convicted in June 2000 at Bristol Crown Court before Judge Lester Boothman.
He said: “She was put back for sentence and for a Proceeds of Crime Application (POCA) to be considered.
“She refused to comply with the POCA.
“The court adjourned sentence to the October and she failed to attend and has been absent ever since.
“She was found today (April 16) by police in the house of a family member in Yate.
“The house has been sold, though completion is yet to be reached.
“Consideration is being made as to whether anyone will be prosecuted for assisting an offender.”
Gibson was initially arrested in 1999.
Police officers were watching a Little Chef in Kent when they saw her and a man in a Ford Mondeo behaving suspiciously in the car park.
They tailed the Mondeo as it headed towards Bristol on the M25 before pulling it over on the M4 near Swindon.
Gibson told officers she was carrying a number of rare books, but a search of the boot revealed a handbag containing 3kg of cocaine.
The man in the car was acquitted of wrongdoing, but a gang of linked conspirators were convicted and served jail terms ranging from 18 months to five years.
Gibson fled and was subsequently dubbed “Britain’s most wanted granny” as police launched a high-profile campaign to find her.
She was described by Detective Constable Paul Kerrod, then of the NCS’s Bristol branch, as “an evil woman who was determined to bring cocaine into this country and distribute it”.
Speaking in 2003, the defiant cop said: “We won’t give up – and I don’t care if she’s 65 or 75, because we will get her.”
Giles Nelson, defending Gibson this week, said his client had not accepted her conviction and wanted to appeal it.
He said at the time she was distraught, having lost a second daughter in quick concession.
Mr Nelson added: “She has been in the North of England, having returned recently to Yate.
“She is in poor health, has obvious mobility issues, a kidney and haemorrhaging problem.”
Judge Longman remanded the pensioner in custody until May 9.
Gibson told the judge: “I don’t even know those people,” referring to members of the convicted drugs gang.
Her granddaughter Josie, who won Big Brother 11 in 2010, said: “I can’t say anything about it.”
In 2010 relatives told a national newspaper Josie rarely saw her gran while growing up.
Diane’s daughter Kay Gibson – the aunt Josie lived with in Westerleigh, said: “Josie was too young to remember when it happened.
“I imagine she will have mentioned it to Big Brother. But we haven’t discussed it. The whole thing tore the family apart, but over time we’ve learned to deal with.
“We never talk about it now.”
At the time Big Brother sources said bosses were aware of Diane. A show spokesman said: “Housemates passed their police checks. All are above board.”