Lancashire

Reggie Perrin fake death paedophile guilty

Leslie Andrews
Image caption Leslie Andrews said he made two attempts to commit suicide

A man who faked his own death by leaving his clothing, car keys and a suicide note on a Lancashire beach has been convicted of child sex offences.

Leslie Andrews engineered the Reggie Perrin-style disappearance in May 2002 to evade an investigation into his paedophile activities.

The 54-year-old was eventually traced to Wakefield, West Yorkshire last year.

He was found guilty of 14 counts of indecent assault on a young girl from 1997 to 2002 at Preston Crown Court.

Andrews, formerly of St Heliers Road in Blackpool, was cleared of a further, similar charge.

He is due to be sentenced on 28 June.

The former cafe owner had kept a low profile for eight years, after changing his name to Christopher Trent. He refused to visit a doctor or dentist, or use his National Insurance number.

It is understood he moved regularly, taking cash-in-hand jobs and lived at addresses in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

But his true identity was revealed during background checks made when he was arrested on suspicion of theft in 2010.

'Not man enough'

In 2002, police visited Andrews at his flat and told him a young girl had made sexual allegations against him and said he would have to be questioned in the near future.

A few days later he drove to Lytham St Annes and parked his red Ford Escort by the beach.

He walked across the sand towards the sea, left his personal items, then disappeared like the television character Reggie Perrin.

Image caption Andrews abandoned his possessions on the beach at Lytham St Annes

Giving evidence during the trial, his victim - who cannot be named - told the jury: "He knows and I know he's guilty.

"He's not man enough to deal with his guilt just like he wasn't man enough and did a Reggie Perrin."

Andrews said he had tried to take his own life on two occasions weeks before his disappearance.

During the trial, he admitted the suicide plot but told the court he wanted a new life because of his debts and marital problems. He cut off all contact with his wife and family.

He went on to have a relationship with another woman and was living in Wythenshawe, Manchester when he was arrested.

Insp Tony Baxter, of Lancashire Police, said: "Andrews did everything possible to hide his true identity and evade capture.

"He never went to the doctor, dentist, obtained a driving licence or paid taxes in his real name.

"His victim has spent the last eight years not knowing if he is dead or alive or if she would ever get justice for what he has put her through.

"A young woman now, she has conducted herself with tremendous dignity throughout these proceedings."

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