Hereford & Worcester

Child rapist who fled to Peru jailed in Hereford

A man who fled to South America while on bail for raping a child has been sentenced to at least seven-and-a-half years in prison.

Paul Martin Thomas, 41, of Madley, Herefordshire, was convicted in his absence in March for raping a girl under the age of 13.

While on bail he fled to Peru, where he was held for 14 months before being brought back by police.

His sentence was confirmed at Hereford Crown Court.

He was also convicted of three counts of sexually assaulting a girl under 13 and eight charges of cruelty to a child.

Extradition order

After the sentencing, police said Thomas had sexually assaulted and abused a young girl over a number of years.

Det Insp Jon Roberts said: "I hope, in some small way, it helps his victim come to terms with what he did to her as well as reassurance to the community that there is no place to hide when you are convicted of such serious charges."

Thomas had been arrested for the historic offences in May 2008.

In February 2009, while on bail, he flew to Holland and then made his way to Peru, police said.

After being convicted of the crimes in his absence, police applied to the Peruvian authorities for an extradition order.

Thomas was arrested by police in Peru and was collected by West Mercia Police last month.

Police said it is the first extradition order granted by Peru to the UK.

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