Bridgend man sentenced after extradition from Thailand


A 58-year-old man from Bridgend has been sentenced to 12 years for rape and indecent assault, following his extradition from Thailand.

Paul Martin Smithers absconded in 2000, after failing to appear at court for sentencing in relation to child sex offences committed between 1994 and 1996.
After he was traced to Thailand, he was made the subject of an extradition warrant in 2009, which saw him arrested and held in a Thai prison while the extradition process progressed. He was escorted back to the UK in April by officers from South Wales Police.

The successful extradition comes as a result of an extensive investigation between the Crown Prosecution Service, South Wales Police and the Royal Thai Police.

Suzanne Thomas, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Case Unit in Wales, said:

"Today's sentencing of Paul Smithers is testament to the determination of the prosecuting authorities in South Wales in bringing serious offenders to justice, no matter how complex a task it may be.

"Smithers thought he could evade justice by going on the run. Bringing him back to Wales has been a lengthy and complex process, but we hope it sends a clear message that we can and will use all powers at our disposal to pursue serious offenders and bring them before the courts."

Detective Inspector Susan Sidford of South Wales Police added: "Offenders like Smithers need to realise that the police will not stop at the border in order to hold them to account for their offences.

"Our strength in dealing with British child sex offenders overseas is not only in working with our extended police family and partnerships at home and abroad, but in our determination to track them down and ensure they face justice for their crimes."

In addition to his custodial sentence, Smithers will remain on the Sex Offenders Register for life.