Child abuser finally jailed after years on the run

A SEX offender, who abused a child for eight years then skipped the country for nine years to avoid a trial, has today been brought to justice.

Naomi Cassidy

A SEX offender, who abused a child for eight years then skipped the country for nine years to avoid a trial, has today been brought to justice.

Paul Careswell, 57, of Kersey Road, Felixstowe, disappeared to Spain the week before he was due to stand trial in 2000 for indecently assaulting a girl under 14.

After nine years of travelling across Spain and Thailand, he was finally caught when he arrived back at Gatwick Airport in May this year. Following a week-long trial at Ipswich Crown Court, he was found guilty on Friday of eight counts of indecently assaulting a girl between 1992 and 2000, and one count of committing an act of gross indecency with a child, and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail.


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Judge Neil McKittrick said: “This was a systematic abuse of a child which started when she was eight and went on until she was 15.

“It was this consistent and persistent conduct which, to an extent, robbed this child of her childhood.”

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Careswell was originally arrested on July 6, 2000, for indecently assaulting the girl who was 15 at the time and he appeared at various court hearings. His trial date was set for November 11, 2000, but he never turned up.

He told his wife he wanted a break from the trial and that he was going to Cardiff for the day, but the court heard instead he went to Plymouth, and took the ferry to Spain.

Addressing him, Judge McKittrick said: “You got a new life for yourself, a new woman, new friends and started a Cook's tour of Europe.

“All that time this defendant had this abuse hanging over her. She knew one day you would be arrested and here we are nine years later and she had the courage to come back into court and give her evidence of distasteful things from her childhood.

“If you had hoped that these offences would go away, that the victim would say she couldn't be bothered anymore, you reckoned without her persistence. She said she wanted to give this evidence so you would be brought to justice and the same thing would not happen to other children.

“You are a coward and she is a strong-minded woman.”

At the end of his trial, in which a jury found him unanimously guilty, Careswell sank to his chair, held his head in his hands and wept while the verdicts and sentence were read out.

Careswell was given three-and-a-half years in prison for each offence of indecently assaulting a girl, all to run concurrently. For committing an act of gross indecency with a child, he was given a year in prison to run concurrently.

He admitted to failing to surrender, for which he was imprisoned for one year, to run consecutively.

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