‘You can’t run away from crimes forever’ says DI after man is jailed for child assault

A FENLAND man who fled the country for nine years after indecently assaulting a 10-year-old boy has today been brought to justice.

Philip Duke, 47, was jailed for a year after admitting the offence which occurred in Friday Bridge, in July 2002.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that he lured his victim to a field before indecently assaulting him. After the incident Duke gave the boy �1 and offered him a cigarette.

Duke was arrested soon after the assault but failed to answer his bail – fleeing the country instead.

He finally returned to England earlier this year when he was arrested at Heathrow Airport after stepping off a flight from Doha, Qatar.

Detective Inspector Ian Baillie, from Cambridgeshire police, said: “This result sends a strong message to offenders that they cannot run away from their crimes forever.

“In a twist of fate I was the officer who dealt with this offence at the time and have held the wanted file for the last 10 years.

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“Now as head of the child abuse investigation unit it is very satisfying to finally bring this man to justice.”

Tim Bowden, prosecuting, said that two older boys saw the incident and “encouraged the victim away” from Duke, who originally denied any wrongdoing.

Caroline Allison, mitigating, said: “Having spent some time abroad he came to a point in his life where he felt overwhelmed with a sense of guilt and shame at what he had done.

“He felt it was time to take some responsibility.”

The court heard that Duke had been living “not the easiest” of lives abroad and that he had resorted to sleeping on the streets and doing menial jobs.

“At the time of the offence he was in the throes of heavy alcohol use,” said Ms Allison. “He had come to a point where he was drinking substantial amounts of spirits as well as consuming alcohol in the local pubs.

“He has now returned to face the music. He has already spent 148 days in custody and for a man of his age that is no small experience. It has had a deep impact on him.”

Duke, of no fixed abode, admitted one charge on indecent assault on a male. He was sentenced to 12 months but told he would serve only half of that. He will also be placed on the sex offenders register.

Sentencing Duke, Judge Jonathan Haworth said: “This was blatantly sexual behaviour towards a young boy. It’s a serious crime that must be met with a prison sentence.”