In the current issue of the Spectator, I write about Warwick Spinks, a convicted British paedophile who hid in plain sight in Prague for some 15 years. In 1997, having already been released early from a 7-year (later reduced to 5-year) prison sentence delivered in 1995, Spinks violated the terms of his probation and fled the country. It was not long before he wound up in Prague, 'the Bangkok of Europe', where a series of British newspapers reported he was running sex tourism packages for gay men operating under the alias of 'Willem' and posing as a Dutch national. It was in this guise that I became acquainted with 'Willem', at least by reputation, as a ubiquitous and rather dodgy member of Prague's closely-knit expatriate gay community.
Spinks was arrested by Czech police in August. Two months later, once he had been extradited to the UK, news of his arrest made headlines. 'Following extradition from the Czech Republic he will serve the 18 remaining months of his sentence', the BBC reported.
So imagine my surprise on Monday when I received a message from a friend in Prague telling me that he had spotted Willem hanging around outside Temple, a notorious gay hustler bar. Then another friend told me that Willem had been in Prague since March. 'Toucan Apartments', the rental service he ran prior to his arrest, registered a Facebook page on April 12th of this year.
Upon hearing this news, I spent most of Wednesday ringing various British government agencies attempting to get an answer as to how a convicted, violent paedophile, who had previously violated the terms of his probation and was on the lam for 15 years, could have been released after having served less than half of his remaining sentence. Needless to say, I was not able to get a straight answer from any UK government official, and was repeatedly told that even the most basic information about Spinks' case - like the date of his release or even which prison he had been held in - was unavailable to the public. The most that the UK Ministry of Justice would provide me with is the following statement, which I produce below in its entirety:
'All sexual offences are abhorrent. Very tough sentences are available to the courts for those who commit the most serious offences including a new mandatory life sentence which we have introduced for anyone convicted of a second very serious sexual or violent crime.
'We do not comment on individuals. Any convicted sex offender who breaches their licence conditions faces spending the duration of their sentence in prison.'
Before he was arrested, Willem was known for throwing a lavish birthday party for himself every July on a boat in Prague's scenic Vltava River. A Prague friend predicts that, this summer, thanks to the inexplicable laxity of the British Justice system, Willem will entertain his 'annual congregation of paedos' there once again.