Jailed: Pervert riding instructor who fled from Yorkshire to Cambodia

A CHILD sex offender from Leeds who fled to Asia has been jailed for more than six years, less than 24 hours after Yorkshire detectives escorted him back to the UK.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 20th July 2016, 3:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:21 pm
Damien Midgley (second from right) is handed over by Cambodian police
Damien Midgley (second from right) is handed over by Cambodian police

Former riding instructor Damien Midgley, 39, was convicted two years ago of sexually assaulting four girls, all under the age of 13.

But he did not attend his trial, fleeing instead to Thailand and later crossing into Cambodia.

The trial continued in his absence, forcing his victims to go through the ordeal of giving evidence to a jury.

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Damien Midgley

Today at York Crown Court, Midgley, from Aberford, near Leeds, was handed his original six-year sentence, and a further eight months for breaching the conditions of his bail by absconding.

He was brought home after a European Arrest Warrant was issued. North Yorkshire Police worked with the UK’s National Crime Agency to launch an investigation which led them to Cambodia.

Cambodian authorities carried out their own investigation and located Midgley in a bar in Siem Reap, where he was arrested.

Detectives from North Yorkshire flew to Cambodia at the weekend to arrange his handover from local police.

Damien Midgley

Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Vicki Hildred, who led the original investigation, said Midgley’s decision to abscond added to the trauma he had already inflicted on his victims.

She said: “These young people were subjected to giving evidence at Midgley’s trial in his absence, when he chose to flee the country.

“Without their bravery, he would never have been brought to justice. He abused his position as a horse riding instructor, betraying the trust of these children and their families.

“This was a protracted investigation that took a number of years to bring to trial. Even then, Midgley continued to deny all his offending.

“He has evaded capture for over 18 months but I hope that his sentence today offers some closure for these young people.”