A Barnsley pedophile who went on ran twice from his child sexual offence trial, has finally been jailed.
Shaun Wightman, 57, formerly of Priory Road, Featherstone, was sentenced to 16 years in prison last Friday, 4 November.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Wightman went to “incredible lengths” to avoid court, absconding once in August 2021 and again in October. South Yorkshire Police said the second occasion led to his arrested in Scotland.
The police said Wightman “now faces 16 years behind bars, after being found guilty of numerous sexual offences against a child and indecent images charges.”
Investigating Officer Sarah Nelis said: “The victim in this case has shown tremendous courage in disclosing to her family and to our officers the horrific abuse she suffered.
“In complete contrast, Wightman has shown himself to be a coward that refused to accept responsibility for his crimes and went to incredible lengths to avoid the courts and facing justice for his obscene behaviour.
“He absconded not only once, but twice, before he was due to stand trial for the most horrific sexual abuse. He sexually exploited and abused his victim while she was under ten-years-old, and her bravery and stoicism throughout our investigation and then the delayed court process is truly admirable.”
South Yorkshire Police said that he was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, the engagement of sexual activities in presence of a child as well as inciting a child to engage in sexual activities, the making/distributing of indecent images of minors and breach of bail.
“He absconded before this trial was due to start, prompting an appeal on our website and social media channels to locate him. He handed himself in to police in early 2022 and the trial was re-listed for October this year. Wightman attended the first day then again went on the run.” SYP continued.
IO Nelis continued: “A large scale operation was launched in response to Wightman absconding, which spanned the UK. He was located on 31 October in Scotland and remanded in custody.
“The trial had gone ahead in Wightman’s absence and a jury found him guilty after listening to the victim’s compelling and shocking evidence.
“It cannot be underestimated the significant impact that Wightman’s abuse has had not only on his young victim, but on her mother too. Their lives have been forever changed by his abhorrent crimes and I am pleased that he has finally been brought to justice and jailed.”
Wightman has been jailed for 16 years after being convicted of eight offences.