August 2015

Paedophile who moved to Thailand, jailed for UK abuse

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A former Somerset man expelled from Thailand to face child sexual abuse charges has been jailed for 15 and a half years.

Robert David Hastings, 62, formerly of Weston-super-Mare, was living in the Thai city of Udon Thani at the time of his arrest.

He was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court this morning, after being convicted of 10 counts of indecent assault and three counts of indecency with a child following a short trial at the same court last month

The offences were all committed in the 1990s in the Weston-super-Mare area against a vulnerable girl, who was aged between four and nine years old at the time.

The victim contacted police in February 2011 and was able to give a video statement the following month.

Further enquiries found Hastings had been living in Thailand since 2005 where he was working as a English TEACHER and so work began on carrying out a full and thorough investigation which would lead to his expulsion.

Hastings was arrested by Thai police in November 2014 and taken to the Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok.

He was expelled back to the UK in February 2015 following the conclusion of the police investigation.

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Acting Det Sgt Martin Davies, of Bristol Investigations, said: “Robert Hastings is a deceptive and cruel sexual offender who took advantage of a vulnerable child and subjected her to some truly awful offences. 

“When he was arrested by Thai police in November 2014 he told the media he was happy to return to the UK as “he’d done nothing wrong”.

“Members of the jury were able to see through his lies and convicted him of 13 serious sexual offences.

“I have tremendous admiration for the victim for finding the courage to report these crimes to us, and then being able to endure the long wait while the expulsion and judicial processes progressed.

“She has shown unwavering support of the investigation and I hope this conclusion will help her to find some form of closure.

“We’re extremely grateful to all the agencies both here and in Thailand involved in arresting and bringing Hastings back to the UK to face trial, especially the National Crime Agency, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Crown Prosecution Service.”

Rachael Scott, head of the CPS South West Complex Casework Unit said: “The CPS worked closely with Avon and Somerset police and other partner agencies to bring this case before the court. This conviction and today’s sentence highlight our combined commitment to bringing sexual offenders to justice.

“We have a dedicated team of specialist lawyers who review rape and other serious sexual offences working alongside police investigators on these highly sensitive cases. I would like to reassure anyone who has suffered at the hands of a sexual offender that the CPS will always seek to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so, no matter how long ago the offences were committed or where in the world they are now hiding.

“Robert Hastings was unable to evade justice and will now have to face the consequences of his crimes.”