Fugitive rapist who fled Telford is jailed for 12 years
A man who fled the country when police wanted to question him about child sex offences in Telford has been jailed for 12 years.
A jury found Matthew Shearan, of no fixed abode, guilty of four charges of sexually assaulting a child, two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and three charges of rape, at Shrewsbury Crown Court last month.
Judge Jim Tindal told the 44-year-old that he was a “coward” who took advantage of his victim.
The court heard that a member of staff at the victim’s school was concerned about her, adding that she was not taking care of herself.
It was on that occasion that the alleged abuse was disclosed to the member of staff, prompting social services and the police to be informed.
When the investigation began Shearan had left the country.
He got in contact with his mother and told her he was not going to return – and that he couldn’t think why the police wanted to speak to him.
A wanted marker was put on him by police, alerting the UK border agency when he attempted to return to the country.
He returned to the UK from Portugal three years later and was arrested by Essex Police. He was held in custody at Stansted Airport before being handed over to West Mercia Police.
Paul Smith, defending, said although Shearan denied raping the girl, he admitted he needed help.
Judge Tindal added: “It was only when teaching staff asked her what was wrong that it finally triggered her.
“You put her through the torment of a trial when you didn’t have the courage to give evidence yourself.”
He told the defendant he would serve a total of 12 years in prison for his offences but would not automatically be released after six years because of his history of fleeing the country.
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