April 2005

Fugitive paedophile ‘feared jail’

A convicted paedophile who fled to Ireland while on bail has claimed he did so out of fear at the treatment he would receive in prison.

Eric Peachey, 56, from Aberystwyth, was found guilty in May 2002 of sexually assaulting a nine-year-old boy.

He absconded to Ireland and was eventually caught, but spent 19 months appealing against extradition.

He was sentenced to nine months in prison at Swansea Crown Court on Monday.

Defending Peachey, Huw Rees QC told the court his client fled because he was petrified of what might happen to him in jail.

He added that Peachey had fled Britain by ferry from Liverpool to Dublin and stayed in homeless hostels before eventually making himself known to police.

“He was frightened at the prospect of a prison sentence and being a convicted sex offender in the prison regime,” Mr Rees said.

“He was concerned about the treatment he would receive in prison.”

Mr Rees added that while in prison in Dublin last December, Peachey suffered a heart attack.

Sentencing Peachey, Judge John Diehl also put him on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and banned him from working with children for life.

The judge added that Peachey would have to attend a sex offenders’ group programme for three years on his release.

Extradition appeal

Judge Diehl said that a pre-sentence report at the time had recommended Peachey receive a non-custodial sentence.

Had he not absconded he may not have received a jail term, he said.

Peachey was not sentenced for absconding but was told only three of the 19 months he had spent in an Irish jail would count towards his nine-month sentence.

Peachey was brought back to the UK in March nearly three years after going on the run in May 2002.

He spent 19 months in jail in Dublin appealing against extradition.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers brought him back to Wales last month, before he was sentenced on Monday.

Originally from Brighton, Peachey moved to mid Wales about eight years ago, after being jailed for burglary.

At the time of the sexual assault in April 2001, he was working as a cleaner at a primary school.

After he went missing Dyfed-Powys Police turned to the BBC’s Crimewatch UK programme for help.