Accused paedophile escapes late justiceJul 25 2006
Gareth Morgan, Western Mail
AN ACCUSED paedophile has escaped justice because it took police 32 years to find him living just yards from a crown court.
Roger Hawkins, 52, failed to turn up back in 1974 when he was accused of seven sex crimes against teenage boys.
He was finally found just weeks ago living just a few hundred yards from the court steps.
And yesterday a judge ruled Hawkins would not face trial - even though he admitted some of the offences 32 years ago.
The trial will not go ahead because witnesses did not want to attend trial so many years later, and two policemen have forgotten all about it.
Judge John Griffith Williams said, "There is no other option than to return verdicts of not guilty on his charges.
"It is a matter of great public concern that a man who faced serious charges has avoided trial and, based on his previous admissions, possibly conviction.
"I would like to know why someone who was meant to appear in court in October 1974 was not found until June 2006."
Cardiff Crown Court heard Hawkins made a voluntary admission of some of the charges when he was arrested - but was now denying the seven sexual charges against him.
The court heard important paperwork was missing.
Hawkins was living in Aberdare when he failed to turn up for court. But later he moved to London to avoid disgracing his father's reputable estate agents.
But more than three decades later, police knocked on his door and arrested him at his home just 200 yards from the steps of Swansea Crown Court.
He was so shocked, he suffered an angina attack and was admitted to hospital.
South Wales Police are carrying out an internal investigation into how the warrant resurfaced.
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!