A PROFESSOR from Kidderminster locked up in a South American jail on suspicion of smuggling cocaine was due to be released on house arrest yesterday due to ill health.

Divorced Paul Frampton, 68, has been in an Argentinian jail for nine months after police discovered two kilos of the drug in his luggage at an airport in Buenos Aires, in January, as he prepared to fly back to his home in the United States.

The former King Charles I School pupil, who teaches physics and astronomy at the University of North Carolina (UNC), claimed the drugs were planted in his suitcase by a woman purporting to be the agent of a model he had flown out to Argentina to see after meeting her online.

His brother John Frampton, of Birchfield Road, Kidderminster, told The Shuttle he was due to be released yesterday after a medical examination found he was suffering from chronic bronchitis.

“It’s good news,” said John, who, as The Shuttle went to press, had not spoken to his brother since he found out about his release. “He’s still going to be in Buenos Aires, staying with an old friend of his who happens to live there.”

He added he was relived when Paul’s ex-wife Anne Marie called him from America on Tuesday to tell him the news.

“Every time he speaks to me on the phone he’s always coughing badly,” said John, who told The Shuttle in March that he believed his brother had been set up.

“That’s one of the main reasons they released him.”

He added Paul had “kept fairly upbeat” despite the circumstances and still tried to teach his students in North Carolina over the phone