May 2013

Cambodia sex offender David Graham jailed at Old Bailey

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A British man has been jailed at the Old Bailey for 21 months for child sex offences committed in Cambodia.

Fish and chip shop owner David Graham, 47, originally from Bournemouth, admitted sexual activity with a 15-year-old boy in Phnom Penh in 2006.

Campaigners say it is only the second time new legislation has been used to prosecute someone in the UK for sexual offences committed abroad.

Graham was arrested in France last year after spending six years on the run.

Graham had been travelling in Cambodia when he aroused the suspicions of a French child protection charity.

The traveller was caught after charity workers spotted him – and traced him back to the UK. But he fled to France while on bail and was started running a fish and chip shop in Perpignan.

At the time of the offence he was aged 40 and had been hanging around the riverside area outside the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh when charity workers spotted him approaching street children.

Action Pour Les Enfants Investigators, whose aim is to stamp out child exploitation, followed him as he made his way back to his hotel. He beckoned over the boy, who had been sniffing glue.

The taxi driver and former hardware store worker was then videoed for nearly an hour sitting on a bench with his arm around the boy – who had run away from his aunt after his parents had died.

He had his hand on the boy and was then seen putting the boy’s hand down his shorts in the incident which lasted half an hour and for which the youngster was paid 6,000 Riel, worth £0.99.

Graham flew out of Cambodia the day after, but investigators traced his name from hotel records.

Ten days later the father of three was again spotted in the capital chatting to children and was seen buying them food and clothes and taking them to restaurants in April 2006.

The charity found the boy and he told them ‘the man held him by the wrist and put his hand inside the man’s shorts… He tried to take his hand away but the man held his hand there. He was scared.’

UK police were alerted and Graham was arrested at his home in Bournemouth two months later.

French detectives found he had a British passport in a false name. He was extradited back to England and initially pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a boy under 13 and the 14-year-old in March.

But today at the Old Bailey, Graham admitted sexually assaulting the 14-year-old. The other count remains on file.

In sentencing, the judge, John Bevan, said he was not especially interested in whether the defendant was a sex tourist or a tourist who decided to indulge in sex,.

He ordered him to sign the sexual offences register and pay £2,500 towards police costs.

The first prosecution under section S72 of the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 involved Barry McCloud, who was jailed for life in 2010 for sex offences against a girl in Goa.