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Court hears paedophile who fled Belfast over fears for his safety is still ‘high risk’ offender

Paul Redpath previously hid out in Co Wicklow

Clodagh MeaneySunday World

A court has heard that a convicted paedophile who fled Belfast in 2010 over fears for his safety is still a “high-risk” offender.

Paul Redpath (51) was released from prison on probation in 2009 but fled Northern Ireland and was discovered by Gardai in Co. Wicklow.

Redpath, who hails from Scotland, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court where he was handed down a two-year jail term after he breached the terms of his release from jail in August 2019.

Upon his release from HMP Northumberland he was sent to Carlisle where he was meant to remain, but shortly after his arrival, he absconded.

Redpath pleaded guilty to breaching his sexual harm prevention order by leaving Cumbria without permission and twice failing to comply with his duty to notify police annually of his whereabouts, in 2020 and 2021.

His disappearance was featured on BBC show Crimewatch, but he remained on the run for two years before he was caught by police in Sussex last December when he was arrested in relation to another matter.

Redpath was first jailed in 2006 for sexually abusing teenage girls aged 13 and 15 in Northern Ireland. However, Probation Service officials have concluded he still has a high risk of reoffending.

Barrister, Andrew Evans, mitigating, outlined Redpath’s history of offending. Since his original jail term he has had 18 breaches of orders relating to his status as a sex offender.

“He’s spent more than a decade in prison over the last 14 years,” he said.

Outlining the reason for Redpath’s disappearance from Carlisle, Evans said that after arriving at the hostel, he was immediately recognised by other residents who had been behind bars in Northumberland with him.

“They knew exactly what he was in prison for.” Evans said, explaining that he felt “threatened” and left. He said the incident mirrored what happened to Redpath when he was released from prison in Northern Ireland in 2010 and was sent to live on Shankill Road in west Belfast.

Locals wearing balaclavas “severely beat” him and on a second occasion, “he was held at gunpoint, the message being ‘Leave Belfast now,” said the prosecutor.

In the following years, Evans said that the paedo moved from town to town and after being recognised he was targeted repeatedly.

“He formed a relationship while living in Aberdeen but the lady, he said, was murdered and he still bears the psychological scars."

The barrister asked the judge to consider "the psychological impact" of Redpath’s many jail sentences, adding that he had committed no “substantial sexual offences” since his original crime in 2006.

Passing sentence, Recorder Peter Horgan told the defendant: “You say you were again threatened, a continuing pattern for many years.”

He was then handed down two years in prison for his breaches.

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