September 2017

Ex-pat paedophile barred from Philippines

A CONVICTED paedophile who is “not welcome” in the Philippines and is wanted in the Gulf on fraud charges has failed in a court bid to free himself from Scotland’s offender monitoring regime.

Andrew Wright, who makes a living handing out fliers for boat tours in Spain, had claimed Scottish police restrictions were preventing him from getting on with his life.

However, a landmark ruling at Edinburgh Sheriff Court has upheld Police Scotland’s system for managing sex offenders such as the 48-year-old.

Wright was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 1997 for having sex with a child under 13.

He has been imprisoned three times since for failing to comply with a regime which forces him to update police officers on his whereabouts.

Wright also has a long record of other offending, including drugs, theft, fraud and animal cruelty, the court heard.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC rejected Wright’s bid and a similar action by another convicted sex offender in parallel decisions re-inforcing police powers.

Sheriff Welsh in his judgement said Wright claimed to be “a different person now from what he had been five years or 10 years ago”.

His risk of reoffending has been reduced from high to low since 2013.

The sheriff wrote: “He complained he could not get on with his life because of the notification requirements.

“He complained of stress and anxiety and having been exposed in the press for his offence.”

Police Scotland’s Offender Management Unit (OMU), however, suggested they wanted to know more about what Wright was doing abroad before ending the notification regime.

Mr Welsh, in his judgment, cited police evidence that Wright was now keeping in touch from Spain.

However, the OMU’s Detective Superintendent Laura McLuckie told the court, the sheriff said, that this change was itself of concern as Wright wished to return to the UK with his Filipina partner and child. He is also wanted in the United Arab Emirates.

Ms McLuckie told the court that “alleged offending in the UAE was concerning as the full details and background were not known”.

“Sexual offending and financial crimes are not unrelated, in some cases. Partners and the police were unsighted in too many respects with regard to the pursuer.”

She added, said the sheriff, that there were “too many unanswered questions in his case”.

The police told the court wished to learn more about what Wright had been doing abroad – he spent just 12 months in the UK from 2013-2016.

Mr Welsh said: “The Spanish authorities are aware of his presence but no action has been taken. He is not welcome in the Philippines. The authorities there are aware of his history. “