A paedophile who was controversially flown back to Britain at taxpayers expense five years ago after he was released from prison in Cambodia was jailed for 12 years yesterday for historic child abuse offences that he committed before fleeing the UK.
Richard Fruin, who has recently changed his name to Ethan Dashner, pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to sexually abusing three boys between 2000 and 2005 in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
Since committing those offences Dashner, 42, has led a life on the run in the Far East but has been caught twice, extradited from Malaysia, and served jail terms in both the UK and Cambodia.
Now Dashner, formerly of Stroud, but now of of Cannon Street, Devonport, Plymouth is behind bars for his longest sentence yet after he admitted a string of sexual offences against three boys under the age of 13 between October 31, 1999 and December 31, 2005 in Stroud and Worcestershire.
Prosecutor Richard Posner said Dashner initially denied all the 14 charges against him but on February 11th this year, when his trial was due to start, he pleaded guilty to ten of the offences and his pleas were accepted by the Crown.
Mr Posner said the offences began when Dashner (then Fruin) lived in the Stroud area.
“Dashner sought to isolate his first victim as he regarded him as being vulnerable,” said Mr Posner.
“He and a second victim, who has subsequently died, were taken to a farmhouse in Worcester along with a third victim where Dashner groomed all the boys.
“The first victim was subjected to his continual abuse for many years, mainly between the ages of seven and 12.
“The victims were taken on days away, camping trips and taken to the Worcestershire farmhouse where cannabis was growing on site. The boys were encouraged to smoke cannabis and Dashner is said to have drugged the boys.”
The court was told that during his many interviews with police, Dashner denied any exploitation of the boys.
Police began investigating Fruin on October 10, 2005 when a postman tried to deliver a parcel to his home which was addressed to the 14-year-old victim. It was postmarked as being from Worcester. Fruin snatched it from the postman and threw it behind him into the house.
The postman subsequently reported Fruin for the theft of the parcel, said Mr Posner. Police searched Dashner’s home and found pornographic images of children on his computers, mostly downloaded from the internet. But some were of his teenage victim.
Mr Posner added: “On December 1st 2005 Dashner skipped the country while the investigation was ongoing. He travelled to the Gambia and other countries in West Africa and South East Asia.
“Seven years later, on January 12th 2012, he was stopped by the Malaysian authorities for falsifying identity travel documents and on June 30 that year he was extradited back to the UK because he was wanted by Gloucestershire Police. He was subsequently jailed for 12 months for having the indecent images of children.”
Within weeks of his release from prison in 2013, Dashner travelled to Cambodia. He was arrested by police in that country a few weeks later after he was found sharing a bed with an eight-year-old boy in a hostel, the court was told.
He was jailed for 18-months in Cambodia for molesting the child – charges he has always denied.
Judge Timothy Rose said to Dashner: “I am sentencing you for offences which occurred over a six year period. There were 67 offences of sexually abusive behaviour, mostly aimed at your first victim, with the second and third boys also receiving unwanted attention.
“It was a sustained period of offending with the first victim recalling that the abuse had been going on as long as he could remember until you were arrested at the end of 2005.
“In fact he remembers nothing else from his childhood.
“You knew fully well that you were grooming these boys. You plied them all with cannabis. You set up arrangements so that they would be isolated and made it easier for you to perpetrate your abuse so that you would not be interrupted.
“You set up camping trips to the farmhouse where the abuse continued. You knew that your victims were vulnerable.
“You took advantage of the boys.
“I have heard moving victim statements by the two men who describe in graphic terms the damage and the consequences that your behaviour has had on both of them.
“You also committed a similar offence in a foreign jurisdiction within a year of your release from prison.”
The judge sentenced Dashner to 12 years in prison and subjected him to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for life.
During yesterday’s hearing the judge listened to statements from the two surviving victims of Dashner’s historic offences.
One said “The guilt feeling I get in not opening up sooner about my abuse will never leave me.
“I have thought that I could have helped stop many other children from being abused had I spoken out sooner.
“Now that Fruin (Dashner) is behind bars and not able to harm any more children I might be able to find peace with some of my thoughts.
The third victim said: “I was sexually abused when I was 11 and 12 years old. I feel ashamed that I let this happen. I have a lot of built up anger and emotions.
“It has made me less sociable after the incident. I distanced myself from everything. I feel that it is my fault that it happened to someone else as if I had come forward sooner it might have prevented him from doing it to anybody else.
“I have nightmares thinking about this part of my past. His abuse sent me down the wrong path in life and this resulted in me seeking attention elsewhere. I have been on a course of self destruction for most of my life.”