Wanted paedophile to be sent to UK

Britain’s most wanted paedophile is to be extradited from Ireland to the UK despite a “cynical” attempt by his brother to block it.

John Richard Murrell fled to Ireland after serving half of a two-year sentence for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl, breaching the terms of his release.

The High Court in Dublin today ordered the 39-year-old be sent for trial in England even though he faces a charge in a Dublin court.

The summons, for failing to notify gardaí of his whereabouts, was issued in the name of Murrell’s brother, Alan.

Ordering the extradition Mr Justice Michael Peart accused the brother of cynically attempting to abuse the legal system.

“It is so cynical attempt to get around the provisions of the European Arrest Warrant Act that even if I was satisfied that there was some merit in the case, my view would be that it quite clearly was such an abusive attempt … that it would be unconscionable for this court to uphold,” the judge said.

Murrell is to be sent to England by the end of December.

Murrell is wanted by West Mercia Police in England to answer charges of breaching the terms of his release and now faces trial at Worcester Crown Court.

The maximum penalty is five years in jail.

If he was convicted in Ireland for failing to notify gardaí, as his brother attempted, he would face 12 months in prison.

An Irish conviction may also have blocked any future extradition application.

In 1999, Murrell was convicted at Worcester Crown Court in England on three counts of indecent assault on the young girl and a further charge of indecency after forcing her and her sister to watch him as he performed a sex act.

He was sentenced to three 18-month jail terms, to be served concurrently, and a six-month sentence to be served consecutively.

He was released after 12 months behind bars and went on the run.

After seven years he was arrested in Co Kildare.

The breakthrough came after his details were posted on the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre most-wanted list and gardaí and British police began working together.

Two years ago he featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme and adverts in British newspapers and there were reported possible sightings of him in Belfast, Aberystwyth, Wales and Blackpool.

Murrell was allowed out under licence and ordered to reside at a halfway house in Worcester and to inform West Mercia Police of his address, if he changed address or if was living under an assumed name.

He never contacted the authorities on his release and fled the area. It is thought he went on the run with his wife and three children.

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