Paedophile David Price jailed after China extradition

David Price
Image caption Police tracked down David Price in Hubai province, central China

A paedophile from Merseyside who became the first person extradited from China to the UK after he skipped bail on a false passport has been jailed.

David Price, 69, of Southport, fled in 2003 after being caught with hundreds of images of himself and others sexually abusing children.

He admitted 21 specimen counts of possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children.

He was jailed for seven-and-a-half years at Liverpool Crown Court.

Price fled to Kenya and Tanzania before arriving in central China, where Merseyside Police tracked him down in Hubai province. He was teaching English to primary school children.

'No moral considerations'

Detectives spent the following six years monitoring him as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Home Office officials worked to secure Chinese co-operation with his arrest.

The UK and China do not have an extradition treaty but the transfer was eventually secured through a diplomatic agreement.

Price was arrested in May last year and brought back to the UK under police escort in November.

Image caption Police found 800 indecent images on computers at Price's home

Due to the terms of the extradition arrangement, the CPS was not able to charge Price with specific sexual assault offences.

Judge Mark Brown, sentencing, told Price he would have received a "considerably longer sentence" if this were not the case.

Price was jailed for four years in 1990 after being convicted of gross indecency against a young girl.

In 2003, he was caught supplying indecent images of children over the internet to an undercover police officer in the US.

He also said he could help the officer travel to Dubai so he could abuse children, the court heard.

Henry Riding, prosecuting, said the children Price targeted in Dubai were aged from six to 10.

Price "preyed" on the mother of the girls, who was a Pakistani national whose husband had left her and was in "grinding poverty", the court heard.

He wrote letters to the woman saying the only way she could get by was to take money from him so he could use her daughters for his own sexual gratification, the court heard.

In one letter he told her he had "no moral considerations at all".

He later told police he "rewarded" the children with trips to McDonalds and with teddy bears and sweets.

'Terrible damage'

Price also used his website "kiddiepix" to facilitate meetings between the Dubai children and other paedophiles, the court heard.

Judge told him: "Your mail messages about the children are abhorrent and show that you had no insight into the terrible damage you were doing to them.

"You abused them in a dreadful and appalling way and your conduct is rightly described as wicked and depraved.

"I have no hesitation in finding that you are a very dangerous individual.

"You preyed upon and exploited children and their mother because of the desperate financial circumstances they were in and you continued to do that until you were arrested in 2003."

Four computers containing more than 800 indecent images, many featuring Price abusing children under the age of 13, were found in Price's home in Portland Street.

Detectives used "covert" intelligence techniques to trace him to Hubai in June 2005.

A massive diplomatic effort was mounted between the UK and Chinese officials to bring him back to the UK so he could face justice.

'Always hopeful'

He was arrested by Chinese police in May and held in a local jail for six months while the extradition proceedings took place.

He was handed over to Merseyside Police officers who travelled to China in November and brought him back to Britain.

Det Insp Steve Jones, who was part of the team which tracked Price down, said he was "always hopeful" police would find him.

"There is no extradition treaty with China but there is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and we were hopeful that, with the co-operation of all member states, we could secure his extradition."

Mr Jones said the case could set a precedent for future extraditions from China to the UK.

"We'll never know until we try again whether it works but I'm just glad that we have been able to bring this man back to the UK.

"I think it was always at the back of his mind that he would be brought to justice."

Peter Davies, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre, said Price's conviction sent out "a clear message to offenders that wherever they have fled, they are within reach of UK justice and will face it for crimes against children".

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