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A paedophile from Kent who fled to Africa to escape justice is behind bars.
Ian Duncan McLeod-McLean, 48, previously of Monkton Street, Ramsgate was due to stand trial back in May 2008, but instead escaped to Sierra Leone, where he slept rough for two years as an illegal immigrant.
Police finally caught him after he contracted a serious bout of malaria and was hospitalised. When it was discovered he was an illegal immigrant and wanted by UK police, authorities sprang into action and he was deported back to the UK where he was arrested upon arrival at London Heathrow.
McLeod-McLean pleaded guilty to 20 counts of sexual abuse at an earlier hearing on 30 September. He pleaded not-guilty to three further counts which were accepted by the CPS.
The court heard how McLeod-McClean forced one of his victims to watch child pornography and carried out sexual acts on a girl of just 8 years old. The abuse of his three victims took place in Maidstone and spanned more than a decade.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wilson of Maidstone Police comments: “Nothing will bring back the innocence that this man stole from these young girls.
"His campaign of abuse and terror stretched over more than ten years, the mental scars of which these girls will have to endure for the rest of their lives. Furthermore, he then compounded his crimes by fleeing the country before he could stand trial, leaving the victims wondering if they would ever find justice.
"Thankfully, due to the diligence of our officers and our strong links with the police service in Sierra Leone, this man was brought to bear for his crimes and his recent guilty plea spared the victims having to undergo the ordeal of a full trial.
"I can only hope that today’s sentence will give them the strength to help them move on safe in the knowledge that this sexual predator is now behind bars. I would like to thank each of the victims for coming forward, whose brave testimony enabled us to find further victims of his sexual deviance.
"We will use every resource available to us in order to identify and investigate offenders who target children in this way. Offenders such as McLeod McLean are devious and calculating, they rely on their young victims being too scared to report them."