Oct 2010

Deported pervert jailed – at last

A cowardly pervert who fled to Africa after being accused of a string of sex crimes has been jailed today.

Ian McLeod-McLean was finally brought to justice after being due to stand trial more than two years ago.

He abused three young girls, but before stepping into the dock in May 2008 the 48-year-old, of Canterbury Road, Ashford, did a runner.

The pervert was finally re-caught in Sierra Leone after being hospitalised by a serious bout of malaria.

Local officers realised he was an illegal immigrant and was wanted for his crimes in the UK.

It then emerged McLeod-McLean had been sleeping rough in the wartorn African country for two years.

The authorities sprang into action and he was deported back to the UK where he was arrested upon arrival at London Heathrow.

On September 30 at Maidstone Crown Court he pleaded guilty to 19 counts of sexual abuse.

Today, he was jailed for 12 years.

Judge Philip Statman told McLeod-McLean, who once worked as a civilian driving instructor in the Army: “The level of sexual degradation in your particular case is considerable.”

The court heard McLeod-McLean forced one of his victims to watch child porn and carried out sexual acts on a girl of just nine years old.

Police said the abuse of his three victims took place in Maidstone and spanned more than a decade.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wilson, of Maidstone Police, said: “Nothing will bring back the innocence that this man stole from these young girls.

“His campaign of abuse and terror stretched over more than ten years, the mental scars of which these girls will have to endure for the rest of their lives.

“Furthermore, he then compounded his crimes by fleeing the country before he could stand trial, leaving the victims wondering if they would ever find justice.

“Thankfully, due to the diligence of our officers and our strong links with the police service in Sierra Leone, this man was brought to bear for his crimes and his recent guilty plea spared the victims having to undergo the ordeal of a full trial.

“I can only hope that today’s sentence will give them the strength to help them move on safe in the knowledge that this sexual predator is now behind bars.

“I would like to thank each of the victims for coming forward, whose brave testimony enabled us to find further victims of his sexual deviance.

“We will use every resource available to us in order to identify and investigate offenders who target children in this way.

“Offenders such as McLeod McLean are devious and calculating, they rely on their young victims being too scared to report them.

“I am glad the sentence reflects the severity of these offences and I hope that this case shows other victims that people who abuse children will be pursued by Kent Police and brought to justice no matter how long ago the crimes were committed.

“Every child matters and we will always do everything in our power to support victims and bring offenders to justice.”

Ian Duncan McLeod McLean will also be required to sign on the sex offender’s register for life.

He is also banned from working with or communicating with children, using the internet and possessing any video camera.