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22 August 2018, 18:04
Following a West Mercia Police investigation, a man has been sentenced to five years imprisonment and given a lifetime sex offender registration order after being deported back to the UK from Kenya.
Geoffrey John Fitton, aged 61 formerly of Wytheford Road, Shawbury, Shrewsbury, appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court last Thursday (16 August) where he was convicted of four counts of sexual assault of a child aged under 13.
On 30 July 2016, a report was made to West Mercia Police that Fitton had sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl he had met online.
Fitton was interviewed and summonsed to attend Telford Magistrates' Court on 23 October 2017. He failed to attend and a warrant was issued by the court for his arrest.
It was later established he had travelled to Kenya days earlier - on 17 October 2017 - from Heathrow airport. In doing so, he had also breached his notification requirements from a previous sex offender registration order.
In January 2018, West Mercia Police was contacted by the National Crime Agency (NCA) regarding Fitton, who had been arrested by Kenyan authorities.
Following coordination between the NCA, the CPS, Kenyan authorities and specialist lawyers, three officers from West Mercia Police travelled to Kenya for five days in February this year where they detained Fitton and bought him back to the UK to face court proceedings.
He was remanded in prison and entered a not guilty plea at Shrewsbury Crown Court on 19 March. The matter was then listed for a four-day trial, commencing on 13 August, where he was found guilty and subsequently sentenced for the offences.
Speaking about the case, Detective Sergeant Mathew Crisp said: "This was a complex case which involved working closely with law enforcement agencies on an international scale in order to locate and detain Fitton.
"I'd like to thank everyone who was involved in this case, including the National Crime Agency and Kenya National Police Transnational Organised Crime Unit. Without their action and support, we would not have been able to secure his arrest and bring him back to the UK to face justice."