August 2009

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.