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Paedophile locked up after being extradited from Croatia

William Stevenson avoided jail for more than four years
William Stevenson avoided jail for more than four years

A former sea cadet chief who escaped justice for more than four years by fleeing abroad has finally been put behind bars.

William Stevenson skipped bail before being sentenced to five years imprisonment in May 2005 in his absence.

Stevenson, who served as chief petty officer with Sittingbourne and Milton Sea Cadets, fled to Croatia in June 2004.

His lawyer, Simon Wickens, told Maidstone Crown Court on Monday that Stevenson, now 71, did not hide his identity in Croatia.

He was arrested in September last year and faced a tough regime in a prison there.

"He has already been punished in all but name for this offending," said Mr Wickens. "He explained what a rotten time he had out there.

"He was in effect in custody in his cell for almost the entire period. He didn’t contest extradition proceedings."

Judge Michael Lawson, QC, said Stevenson would now start serving the sentence. He was given six months concurrent for the bail offence.

Stevenson, formerly of Barngarth Farm, Detling, denied 11 charges of indecent assault on a male and 13 of indecency with a child. He was convicted of all counts, except one of indecent assault.

The pensioner groomed young boys for sex after enticing them to ride quad bikes and motorcycles.

Passing sentence, Judge Michael Neligan, said: "This was systematic corruption of young men under the cover of providing entertainment. They are serious offences."

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