A DANGEROUS paedophile who went on the run in Spain in a bid to escape justice has been told by top judges he deserved his life sentence.
“Serious, predatory” Dominic Stephen Powell molested children in South Wales after being deported from the United States for similar “sordid” crimes.
The 49-year-old, of no fixed address, was handed a life sentence at Cardiff Crown Court in July last year, after admitting a string of sex offences against young children.
Last week, he challenged the open-ended sentence – which will see him remain behind bars until the authorities are convinced he no longer poses a danger to the public – at London’s Criminal Appeal Court.
His lawyers argued the public could be adequately protected from him if he was given a fixed-term jail sentence and an extended licence period, during which he would be under strict monitoring in the community.
But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said his offending history and his attempts to evade justice meant the sentence was “warranted”.
The court heard Powell, a former swimming teacher and bar owner, molested his victims after moving to the Pontypridd area from Coventry in the early 2000s.
The court heard he fled to Spain in 2009, where he remained at large until he was arrested in November 2011 and returned to the UK.
He admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child, two of sexual assault of a child under 13, one of assault by penetration and one of failing to notify the authorities of a change of circumstances.
Powell was previously deported to the UK from the US in 1997, after serving four years of a 15-year jail term he was handed in Connecticut for abusing two young girls.
He was placed on the sex offenders’ register and ordered to notify the authorities of his whereabouts, but he breached this in 2007 by going to Ireland.
He was again deported back to the UK after serving an 11-month sentence for harassment, following his stalking of a woman and her three young daughters.
Powell’s lawyers argued the crown court judge was wrong to hand him a life sentence, saying it was over the top given the nature of the offences he committed in South Wales.
They said that, while his offending was “sordid” and had a profound effect on his victims, it was not the worst of its kind.
But, dismissing his appeal, Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart said the sentence was “not excessive” in light of the numerous aggravating factors in the case – including his fleeing abroad and his previous offending.
The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Sir Geoffrey Grigson, added: “The appellant is a serious, predatory paedophile and has been for many years.
“We find that it cannot be estimated when it will be safe for him to be released.
“We have come to the conclusion that this offending was of such gravity that it warranted a sentence of imprisonment for life.”
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Soca and Crimestoppers are appealing for help finding this suspect.
Dominic Stephen Powell, 48, from Coventry
The high-risk sex offender is wanted in relation to a string of allegations of child abuse attacks and making indecent images. He is also on the run having been convicted for failing to notify authorities of foreign travel.
Powell, who has been jailed in the past for paedophile offences, is wanted by South Wales Police.
Police are hunting a fugitive described as a “very high risk” sex offender who they believe is on the run in Spain.
Dominic Powell, 48, is wanted for child sex crimes, including attempted rape and making computer images of children.
He also faces a 16-week prison sentence for allegedly failing to report that he was planning to travel abroad.
Powell is one of the latest 10 Most Wanted UK suspects thought to be living somewhere in Spain and the subject of appeals by Crimestoppers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency .
Powell, from Coventry, served half of a 15-year sentence in America for abusing children in his professional care.
After he was deported from the US, he was jailed again in Ireland after being convicted of harassing a mother and her child.
He was released and then deported back to the UK where he was investigated for failing to comply with his probation restrictions.
He travelled to Spain in January 2009 and has not been seen since.
Police believe Powell is a major risk, particularly to vulnerable females with children.
They said he is likely to be using an alias and will probably have changed his appearance to avoid capture.
Powell is described as having a stocky build, with balding, short brown hair, brown eyes and he wears glasses. He speaks with a West Country accent.
Anyone with information is urged to ring a special Crimestoppers hotline 900 555 111 for those calling from Spain, or the normal Crimestoppers UK number 0800 555 111 , or contact online at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org .