South West Wales

Paedophile David Hart who fled court jailed for 25 years

David Hart Image copyright South Wales Police

A paedophile who went on the run on the final day of his trial has been jailed for 25 years.

David Hart, 60, fled on Tuesday, shortly before a jury convicted him of 16 offences against a young girl.

Hart, of Morriston, Swansea, failed to show up at Swansea Crown Court and was arrested on Wednesday.

The taxi driver was described as a "controlling bully" and "deviant sex predator" by Judge Geraint Walters.

Judge Walters had previously criticised the police and Morriston Hospital staff over the way they handled the matter.

Hart was convicted of 16 offences by a jury, including 12 charges of rape.

The court heard he started abusing his victim at the age of 11 and subjected her to "horrific sexual abuse" including bestiality.

He also abused her on a webcam in chat rooms used by other paedophiles around the world.

Image copyright PA

Hart's victim told police: "I blame myself. I never did enough to stop him. I had opportunities to stop him but I was too afraid. I hate myself. I feel disgusted I let him do these things. I dream of it."

Sentencing him on Thursday, Judge Walters told Hart he had "ruined that girl's life.

"Your conduct towards her passes the boundaries of human understanding."

The court also heard how Hart had lied throughout the trial.

"I have rarely heard one man lie so much during a trial," said Judge Walters, "you really are a consummate liar".

"I have for over a week heard stomach churning evidence.

'Sickening offences'

"You are without doubt a paedophile - that which you cannot change and you will pose a risk, always."

Addressing his victim afterwards, Judge Walters said he hoped she could find some satisfaction that having him {Hart} ruin her life, she can be assured his life will now be affected.

"Although it will never be as much hurt as you have suffered, I know," he said.

Commenting after the case, Mandy Tobias, from CPS Cymru-Wales, described it as a "sickening campaign of sexual abuse".

"Despite the compelling evidence against him provided by his victim, Hart continued to deny his guilt and even tried to flee justice as the trial concluded," she said.

"The CPS presented a strong case to the court and I hope the guilty verdicts and significant prison sentence will be of some comfort to Hart's victim and I pay tribute to her bravery."

An NSPCC Cymru spokesman said Hart had committed "sickening and gravely serious offences" against his victim over a prolonged period of time.

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