County man who fled the UK jailed for child sex offences
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A Leicestershire man who went on the run after sexually abusing a young girl has today (Friday 18 December) been jailed for his crimes.
Michael Thurman has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment following a trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Following an allegation in 2017 involving a victim – aged just five years old – 78-year-old Thurman fled the UK while officers from the force’s Child Abuse Investigation Unit (CAIU) carried out further enquiries.
However, despite his efforts to evade arrest, Thurman was found to be living on the island of Fuerteventura following proactive investigative work in collaboration with the Spanish authorities.
A European warrant was issued for his arrest and he was extradited to stand trial. A jury found him guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of sexual assault of a child under 13.
Thurman, of Valles de Ortega, Fuerteventura, was also placed on the sex offenders register for life and is subject to a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
Detective Constable Aisling McPhillips, from the CAIU, was the investigating officer. She said: “The fact that Thurman fled the UK after the allegation was made is an obvious indicator he knew what he’d done – and that his actions were going to have serious consequences.
“He thought by fleeing not only Leicestershire but the UK completely, he’d be able to escape punishment for his abhorrent crimes, involving a young child.
“But this case should serve as a warning to other offenders that you can run but you can’t hide. We are grateful to the Spanish authorities for their help and co-operation which meant he has been brought back to face justice.
“I hope the outcome today provides some closure to both the young victim and her family.”
- There are a number of different agencies who are able to offer independent help and support to victims of sexual offences in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
- Further information on these services and details can be found by visiting https://www.leics.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/