September 2020

Child abuser who faked suicide to avoid trial caught out enjoying breakfast at Tesco

A child abuser who faked his own suicide to avoid a court trial was spotted enjoying a breakfast at Tesco.

On the day before his trial at Exeter Crown Court, Paul Bairstow of Kingsteignton left a series of handwritten suicide notes to various people including his lawyers.

A large scale police search was undertaken and witnesses said they spotted him in ‘good spirits’ and enjoying a breakfast in a Tesco store.

He was arrested three weeks later and held in custody to await his sentencing for the sex abuse of a seven-year-old girl.

Bairstow, 56, was branded a ‘coward’ by a judge who jailed him for six years.

The court heard he was being ‘deliberately manipulative in an attempt to evade justice’.

His lawyer said Bairstow was ‘paralysed with fear’ about the court trial because he did not want to put the child witnesses through it and because he denied he had done anything wrong.

The judge rejected he had any intention to kill himself.

Judge David Evans said:”You were cowardly as you tried to avoid the moment of truth.”

The court heard Bairstow had lied to the victim’s mother claiming to be 12 years younger than he actually was, and that he was a former Royal Marine.

Prosecutor Felicity Payne said Bairstow told many lies.

Bairstow was convicted in his absence by a jury of two charges of sexual assault on a girl aged under 13, one of engaging a child in sexual activity and absconding.

He was jailed for a total of six years and six weeks and placed on the Sex Offenders’ register for life.