Hunt to capture Exeter sex offender – Finally Jailed
FUGITIVE sex offender Dalton Hippolyte has finally faced justice for preying on two teenage girls in the city, thanks to an international manhunt by Devon and Cornwall police.
The 26-year-old was jailed for four years at Exeter Crown Court this week, after being arrested at gunpoint by Canadian police thousands of miles away.
He had jumped bail to his homeland of St Lucia and then to Canada, underestimating the persistence of the Exeter detectives on his trail.
Detective Constable Tobie Carter, of Exeter CID, said: “We were determined to make sure he faced justice and we want to thank everyone, including Interpol and Toronto’s Fugitive Squad, who helped us in our search. We were not prepared to let the young victims down.”
Hippolyte was sent to prison after being found guilty of four out of five offences of engaging in sexual activity with an underage child, at the court on Wednesday.
He had committed sexual offences involving two young girls, who were both under 16, on separate occasions at the same social event in Exeter in 2006.
The defendant had moved to Redhills, in Exeter, after marrying a woman in the city but he befriended teenagers.
Det Con Carter arrested him in Exeter in April last year when the offences came to light. Hippolyte was charged with the crimes in July and released on bail, with a condition to hand in his passport, which he did not do, allowing him to flee the country.
A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to turn up for his first hearing at Exeter Crown Court in October last year and jumped bail.
“I made inquiries, contacted addresses and found out he wasn’t even using his mobile phone,” said Det Con Carter.
“We worked with the passport and immigration authorities and found out he had fled to St Lucia.
“It emerged he then went to Toronto, in Canada, in September last year, where he was granted a visitor’s visa. He claimed he was visiting Toronto to invest in vacation property.”
Det Con Carter spent hundreds of hours following his trail, from his Exeter CID offices. Through his contacts, he tracked Hippolyte down to Mississauga in Ontario.
He said Interpol, the UK’s Force Intelligence Bureau and the Canadian police all played a crucial role in Hippolyte’s arrest in December last year.
“We spoke to the authorities and he was arrested at gunpoint by Canadian police just days before he might have been tempted to flee again because his visa was about to expire,” said Det Con Carter.
Exeter CID undertook further painstaking work to prepare the extradition request. A team including Det Con Carter, his CID colleague Det Con Grant Leitch, and police constables Chris Thomas and Johnny Adkins, from Devon and Cornwall police’s tactical aid group, flew out to Canada in March this year.
“We went to the Toronto West Detention Centre with the Canadian Toronto Fugitive Squad,” said Det Con Carter. “It felt so rewarding for the whole process to come together.”
PC Thomas and PC Adkins used specialist handcuffs to transport Hippolyte on the plane and back to Exeter, with a belt around his waist and ties around his back.
The team’s global mission ended with Hippolyte being driven back to Exeter, where he was remanded in custody and finally faced trial. Det Con Carter said: “We put hundreds of hours into finding Hippolyte. But the real credit should be given to the witnesses in his trial, including his victims. It couldn’t have been easy for them to give evidence, especially being cross-examined.”
Det Con Carter paid tribute to his colleagues, including Det Con Moira Hamilton, who interviewed the victims. He also thanked the agencies which helped in the hunt, including the Crown Prosecution Service, Interpol, Canadian police and fugitive squad, UK Force Intelligence Bureau and passport and immigration authorities.