Paedophile latest criminal to refuse to face sentencing

Paedophile, 35, convicted of child rape attacks is latest criminal to refuse to face sentencing following furore at Lucy Letby and Thomas Cashman no-shows

  • Paul Buckland, 35, was found guilty of a string of child sexual offences
  • He joins the ranks of serial killer Lucy Letby and murderer Thomas Cashman 
  • All three refused to attend their sentencing hearings 

A convicted paedophile has become the latest criminal to refuse to face their sentencing, as UK official proposed laws that would allow judges to force them to turn up to hearings. 

Paul Buckland refused to attend his sentencing hearing on Friday at Winchester Crown Court after he was found guilty of a string of child sexual offences. 

Police said his decision not to attend the sentencing hearing was an ‘aggravating factor’ in the decision to put him behind bars for 20 years.  

He pleaded not guilty to the charges, but a jury found him guilty earlier this year. 

He was charged with two counts of rape of a child under 13, two of attempted raped of a child under 13, two of sexual assault of a child under 13, one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, and two of causing a child to watch a sexual act for a series of attacks he committed 10 years ago. 

Paul Buckland (pictured) was found guilty of committing a series of child sex offences 

He was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Friday

Wiltshire Police began investigating the paedophile after his crimes were reported in 2020. 

Speaking after sentencing, detective constable Louise Thomas, said: ‘Buckland is an abhorrent individual who committed unspeakable acts to, and in the presence of, a child.

‘Actions such as his have long-lasting and traumatic effects on their victims, which can manifest in myriad ways.

‘I’d like to commend the victim in speaking to us about her experiences – I understand how difficult it must have been for her and I hope that this sentence can bring some sort of relief, knowing Buckland is behind bars.

‘This incident took place more than a decade ago but didn’t come to light until 2020 when it was bravely reported to us by the victim and her family.’

Buckland is just the latest criminal to refuse to attend sentencing hearings. He joins the ranks of serial killer Lucy Letby and murderer Thomas Cashman. 

Letby, Britain’s worst child serial killer, did not attend court last month to be sentenced for murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six more.

And earlier this year Thomas Cashman refused to turn up for his sentencing for the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Liverpool.

Both killers were jailed in their absence, but their refusal to face the families of their victims sparked a nationwide outcry.

The outrage led the Ministry of Justice to last week announce planned legislation to make defendants in England and Wales attend sentencing hearings, including by force if needed.

Custody officers would be given the power to use reasonable force to compel criminals to appear either in person or via video link in an attempt to allow the families of victims to see justice delivered, the MoJ said. 

And if criminals resist attending their sentencing despite a judge’s order, they will face an extra two years behind bars.

This additional penalty will apply in cases where the maximum sentence is life imprisonment, including serious sexual or violent crimes such as murder, rape and grievous bodily harm with intent.

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