Child sex offender expelled from Thailand given 15½ years

17/08/2015

A former Weston-super-Mare man expelled from Thailand to face child sexual abuse charges has been jailed for 15 and a half years and Bristol Crown Court Today.

Robert David Hastings, 62, who was living in the Thai city of Udon Thani at the time of his arrest, was convicted of 10 counts of indecent assault and three counts of indecency with a child following a short trial last month.

Rachael Scott, head of the CPS South West Complex Casework Unit said: "The CPS worked closely with Avon and Somerset police and other partner agencies to bring this case before the court. This conviction and todays sentence highlight our combined commitment to bringing sexual offenders to justice.

"We have a dedicated team of specialist lawyers who review rape and other serious sexual offences working alongside police investigators on these highly sensitive cases. I would like to reassure anyone who has suffered at the hands of a sexual offender that the CPS will always seek to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so, no matter how long ago the offences were committed or where in the world they are now hiding.

"Robert Hastings was unable to evade justice and will now have to face the consequences of his crimes."

The offences were all committed in the 1990s in the Weston-super-Mare area against a vulnerable girl, who was aged between four and nine years old at the time.

The victim contacted police in February 2011 and was able to give a video statement the following month.

Further enquiries found Hastings had been living in Thailand since 2005 and so work began on carrying out an investigation which would lead to his expulsion.

Hastings was arrested by Thai police in November 2014 and taken to the Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok. He was expelled back to the UK in February 2015 following the conclusion of the police investigation.

Acting Det Sgt Martin Davies, of Avon and Somerset police, said: "Robert Hastings is a deceptive and cruel sexual offender who took advantage of a vulnerable child and subjected her to some truly awful offences.

"I have tremendous admiration for the victim for finding the courage to report these crimes to us, and then being able to endure the long wait while the expulsion and judicial processes progressed.

"She has shown unwavering support of the investigation and I hope this conclusion will help her to find some form of closure.

"We're extremely grateful to all the agencies both here and in Thailand involved in arresting and bringing Hastings back to the UK to face trial, especially the National Crime Agency, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Crown Prosecution Service."