A drug dealer tried to fake his own death during a desperate attempt to avoid going to jail.
The notorious criminal named Gabriel C – and known in Belgium as “Lange Vingers” (Long Fingers) – staged photographs of himself being “tortured” to death, with the word “thief” being carved into his chest.
He released the images of himself seemingly slumped in a chair with his hands bound and fake injuries across his body.
The images were presented as proof he had been tortured to death by a rival drug gang after he had been busted for stealing cocaine that he had been tasked with ensuring made passage to a port in Antwerp.
However, authorities failed to fall for the “tortured to death” ploy and he has since been arrested and charged.
Gabriel C will now be jailed for four years and fined £16,193 for his part in a 113kg cocaine smuggling operation dating back to 2016.
The criminal had attempted to sell the drugs he siphoned off from the shipment he was supposed to supervise.
Last year, he went into hiding after the Albanian drugs gang he stole from made him a marked man.
The gang retaliated by attacking several addresses – including houses and warehouses – armed with AK-47 guns and hand grenade explosives while searching for C.
He had already been wanted for a string of offences committed in 2015.
The fake images first surfaced last year but experts last December ruled the images as fraudulent.
Brussels Times reported at the time: “The visible wounds are most likely the work of a professional make-up artists, probably someone working in the film world.”
They added: “The wounds on his body, apparently fatal, are fake, according to four doctors who studied the images, including one forensic pathologist.”
Belgian authorities reduced his sentence from five years to four even following the failed attempt to convince police he was dead.
His lawyer argued in court that he was “sorry” for his past crimes and claimed his wife and three-year-old son have taught him what “taking responsibility” meant.