Irish haven of Madeleine suspect

May 24 2009
Sunday Independent
Jim Cusack

Raymond Hewlett, the convicted paedophile who has emerged as a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case, travelled back and forth between Britain and Ireland from the mid-Seventies until 1999.

He was part of a network of British paedophiles who used Ireland as a bolt-hole when they came to the attention of UK police, and he was suspected of abducting and raping children here. It was the presence and activities of these paedophiles that led the government -- after several year's delay -- to bring in the Sex Offenders Register. He quit Ireland just before its introduction.

Hewlett was regarded as a suspect in the rape and murder of 11-year-old Leslie Molseed in October 1975 on the Yorkshire Moors. The day after the murder, Hewlett, who had been living in the Rochdale area where Leslie lived, left Yorkshire and traveled to Ireland, where he is believed to have stayed for over a year.

He returned when West Yorkshire Police arrested Stefan Kiszko, who was wrongfully convicted of the murder and served 16 years in prison before being cleared.

The wrongful conviction resulted in a campaign led by Mr Kiszko's mother, and in the early Nineties, Hewlett was identified as a prime suspect. Three years earlier, Hewlett abducted a 12-year-old girl and took her to the moors near his home in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. He incapacitated her with a rag soaked in paint thinners and was in the process of attempting to rape her when, a subsequent court heard, he prematurely ejaculated, and the girl escaped. He received only one year's imprisonment. He was also suspected of sexually assaulting another young girl in Manchester in 1975, though never charged or convicted.

Hewlett was eventually cleared of murder Leslie Molseed in 2006, when a cold case investigation led to low cell DNA analysis of Leslie's clothes finding traces of semen which were traced to Ronald Castree, who was convicted in 2007.

In 1978, Hewlett attacked another 14-year-old girl, putting a gun to her head. She managed to escape. He received a four-year jail term for attempted rape. He received another jail sentence for the attempted rape of 14-year-old in 1988.

In 1991, he moved to Ireland and was the prime suspect in the attempted rape of a nine-year-old girl in Fermanagh. He was also suspected of raping a young girl in Cavan. His then wife told gardai she suspected him of being the rapist.

He stayed in Ireland off and on until 1997, having set up home first in Kinsale, where he signed on the dole. He moved around the country to avoid detection, living in Donegal, Cork, Cavan, Sligo and in a cottage on the Cooley Peninsula in Louth. During his time in Louth he was again suspected of attempting to abduct and sexually assault a young girl in Co Down.

He travelled frequently back to England and Europe and is believed to have been part of a British paedophile network who actively helped each other find safe houses and locations to track children. His last known address in Ireland was in Fermanagh, and between 1997 and his last known sighting in Ireland in 1999, his whereabouts are uncertain.

During this time he had at least three relationships with adult women and fathered at least eight children, most of them in England.

Hewlett, who was born in Blackpool in 1945 and served in the Scots Guards before working as a trawlerman and then various odd jobs, is currently being treated for throat cancer in Germany. He was one of several highly dangerous paedophiles from Britain who were known to have visited Ireland from the Seventies onwards.

The most notorious was the serial rapist and killer of young girls, Robert Black, who was eventually caught and convicted of four murders in 1994. Black visited Ireland on many occasions and remains the prime suspect for the murders of nine-year-old Jennifer Cardy in Co Down in 1981 and of six-year-old Mary Boyle, in Donegal, in March 1977. Jennifer's body was found in a mill pond near her home near Hillsborough. Mary, who disappeared on March 18, 1977, was never seen again. It was established through records of the transport company Black worked for that he was in Donegal at the time Mary disappeared.

Another extremely dangerous paedophile murderer who moved between Britain and Ireland was Bob Howard, dubbed the "Wolfman". He is the only suspect in the case of 15-year-old Arlene Arkinson, who disappeared from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, in 1994, and was never seen again. Howard had fled England where he had a string of convictions involving rape and attempted rape of young girls. Despite this and the fact that he was the last known person to have seen Arlene, he evaded prosecutions.

Despite the well-publicised presence of people like Hewlett, Black and Howard, among many other foreign and domestic rapists and paedophiles, there continued to be opposition from rights groups and even some religious against the introduction of the Sex Offenders Register here. It was finally introduced here in 2001.

0 Responses to "Irish haven of Madeleine suspect"
Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors