Kent man who fled to Sierra Leone jailed for sex crimes

Ian McLeod-McClean
Image caption Ian McLeod-McClean was caught by police after being hospitalised for malaria

A Kent man who fled the UK after he was charged with sex crimes against three young girls has been jailed for 12 years.

Ian Duncan McLeod-McClean, 48, previously of Canterbury Road, Ashford, had admitted 19 counts of sexual abuse and was sentenced on Friday.

He had forced one victim to watch footage of child abuse and carried out sex acts on an eight-year-old girl.

He had been due for trial in May 2008 but fled to Sierra Leone.

The abuse of his three victims took place in Maidstone and spanned more than a decade.

Det Ch Insp Simon Wilson said: "Nothing will bring back the innocence that this man stole from these young girls.

"His campaign of abuse and terror stretched over more than 10 years, the mental scars of which these girls will have to endure for the rest of their lives.

"Furthermore, he then compounded his crimes by fleeing the country before he could stand trial, leaving the victims wondering if they would ever find justice."

Police said McLeod-McClean slept rough for two years in Sierra Leone as an illegal immigrant.

Officers found him after he caught malaria and was hospitalised. It was discovered he was wanted in the UK and then deported.

McLeod-McClean was also ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for life and was banned from working with or communicating with children, using the internet and possessing a video camera.

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