Ex-UEA criminal law lecturer who fled court during indecent images trial given three-and-half-years in prison

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By Thomas Connelly on

But he remains ‘a free man’

Julian Myerscough

A former University of East Anglia (UEA) law lecturer has been sentenced to three and half years in prison for possessing indecent images of children.

In a strange turn of events, criminal law lecturer Julian Myerscough actually absconded from Ipswich Crown Court in September 2015 during his trial. Facing 13 counts of possession of indecent images of a child and three for breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO), the now 55-year-old criminal law specialist disappeared while the jury had retired to consider its verdict.

So what happened to the elusive ex-lecturer after he bolted?

Well, with local police making enquiries as to Myerscough’s whereabouts, a European Arrest Warrant was issued after they became aware he was heading to Ireland. He had been spotted boarding a ferry in Wales.

Myerscough — who was convicted of similar offences in 2010 and given a 15-month prison term — was detained by Irish officers at a Dublin hotel in early October. He was caught just hours before he was due to board a flight destined for Budapest, Hungary.

Unfortunately, this bizarre story doesn’t end here. While in custody in Dublin, Myerscough — appearing to use his detailed knowledge of criminal proceedings — lodged a number of appeals against his planned extradition back to the UK. In August of this year the High Court in Dublin ordered that Myerscough be released from prison as too much time had passed (almost two years) and he was now being unlawfully detained.

Now, Myerscough has finally been sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court, but in his absence. Found guilty on all 16 counts, he was handed a three-and-half-year prison term and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. Judge Emma Peters — who presided over Myerscough’s original trial in 2015 — stressed that just because he had been in custody in Ireland for two years, it did not necessarily mean this would be taken off his sentence.

Speaking after the hearing, detective sergeant Simon Fitch said:

He [Myerscough] may currently be living as a free man, but I am confident justice will catch up with him eventually and will we continue our efforts to return him to the United Kingdom so that he can serve the sentence handed down to him.

UEA declined to comment.

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