July 2017

Amesbury paedophile who fled to Cornwall for five years sentenced over indecent images

AN Amesbury paedophile has been given a suspended prison sentence for possession of indecent images of children today (July 3) at Swindon Magistrates Court.

Andrew Simmonds, 57, disappeared from his home in Amesbury on March 2, 2012, after being arrested and bailed in connection with the possession of indecent images of children.

Despite requests for information in local and regional media, a Crimewatch appeal and a thorough investigation he had not been found.

His family have had no contact from him since he disappeared and had no knowledge of the offences he committed.

Simmonds was arrested in Cornwall on May 27 by local officers and was subsequently charged with making and possessing indecent images of children, possessing extreme pornography and failing to surrender to police bail.

He pleaded guilty to all charges at a previous hearing and was remanded in custody until the sentencing today.

Alongside his suspended prison sentence of 26 weeks – suspended for two years – he has also been made to sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years and has a Sexual Harm Prevention Order in place for the same period of time to restrict his internet usage.

Det Con Ian Day said: “Mr Simmonds has finally been sentenced to the crimes he committed many years ago.

“He chose to go on the run for more than five years rather than face up to what he had done. In doing this he has put his family through a lot of distress and anxiety as well as wasting police time.

“Following today’s result he is now a convicted sex offender and subsequently will be closely monitored from now on.”