Derby

Extradited paedophile priest Francis Cullen dies in prison

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Media captionCullen admitted dozens of charges of historical sex abuse against seven children in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

A paedophile priest who went on the run to avoid punishment for his crimes has died in prison.

Francis Cullen spent more than 20 years in Tenerife before being extradited back to the UK in 2013.

The 89-year-old admitted abusing five boys and two girls, aged six to 16, connected to churches in Derbyshire and Nottingham, and was jailed for 15 years.

He died at HMP Oakwood, near Wolverhampton, on 24 June.

A spokesman for G4S, which runs the prison, confirmed he was an inmate at the time of his death.

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The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, which investigates all deaths in custody, said it understands Cullen died due to natural causes but a full investigation will take place.

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Image caption Francis Cullen was ordained as a priest in 1953 and retired in 1991

Born in Dublin, Cullen was ordained as a priest in Birmingham in 1953 and worked in Scunthorpe, Leicester, Nottingham, and across Derbyshire in Alfreton, Buxton and Mackworth.

He retired from the priesthood in 1991 but was charged later that year with sexual abuse offences, and after appearing at Nottingham Magistrates' Court he skipped bail and went into hiding.

After 21 years Derbyshire Police traced him to Tenerife, leading to his extradition from the Spanish island.

Once he was brought back to the UK Cullen admitted abusing children connected to churches in Buxton, Mackworth and the Hyson Green area of Nottingham in offences dating back to 1957.

Sentencing Cullen four years ago, Judge Jonathan Gosling said he was "a disgrace" to the church and abused his position to satisfy his "perverted lust".

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