‘Most wanted’ paedophile to be handed back to UK

A Spanish judge ordered 78-year-old Michael McCartney to be handed back to Britain after a widely-promoted Crimestoppers campaign aimed at finding the UK’s 13 most wanted criminals in Spain led to his arrest last Friday.

'Most wanted' paedophile to be handed back to UK
Police arrested the man after receiving a call from an Alicante resident saying he had seen MacCartney's face on a television news programme. Photo: Crimestoppers/E Turtle/Flickr

Michael McCartney was arrested in the southeastern city of Alicante after he appeared on a list published on Thursday of the 13 most wanted British fugitives in Spain. 

A judge at the National Court in Madrid today "ordered him to be handed over to the United Kingdom, where he is wanted for 11 sexual crimes against children", a court source told AFP. 

After Spanish police included his photograph on its most-wanted list of British fugitives released to the media, "apparently a neighbour recognised him and called the police," said the source, who asked not to be named.

McCartney was wanted by police in the English county of Hertfordshire, north of London, where he groomed his victims by buying them presents that their parents could not afford, according to the list.

A British court convicted him of the 11 charges in March this year and McCartney failed to turn up when summoned for sentencing the following month.

Appearing before a judge today, he agreed to be handed back to Britain and is due to be sent there in 10 days, the court source said.

British criminals have long seen the sunspots of southern and eastern Spain as a place to blend in among their many resident compatriots, but several have been arrested there this year.

On Thursday police arrested another British paedophile, Donald Cassidy, also 78, in the town of Estepona, near Marbella on the southern Costa del Sol.

He and McCartney were both arrested under European arrest warrants, which came into force in 2004 and have made it easier to catch cross-border fugitives in the European Union.

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Family launch fresh appeal and £100K reward for Lisa Brown missing from Costa del Sol since 2015

The family of Lisa Brown were in Cadiz on Friday to launch a fresh appeal for information on her disappearance and announce a reward of €100,000.

Family launch fresh appeal and £100K reward for Lisa Brown missing from Costa del Sol since 2015
Lisa Brown has been missing since November, 2015. Photo; AFP

Brown, originally from Alexandria in Dunbartonshire, Scotland,was 31-years-old when she vanished from her home in Guadiaro, Cadiz province, on November 4th, 2015 after failing to collect to her young son from school.

Her family believe that someone in the English-speaking community in southern Spain could hold key information about her disappearance and hope the reward will encourage someone to break “the wall of silence”.

“We are sure that people know what happened and ask them to think of a little boy who asks every night when his Mummy is coming home. We also hope that the reward might persuade people to tell us what happened,” her brother Craig Douglas said in a press conference in the locality of Los Barrios, in the province of Cadiz, on Friday.

The appeal is supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Spanish authorities and is backed up by a reward of up to £100,000 from the family, which is supported by UK charity Crimestoppers.

Roger Critchell, Crimestoppers Director of Operations, said: “The family are desperate to find out what happened to Lisa.

“We understand that people are not always willing to go to the police so we would urge them to contact Crimestoppers with 100 percent anonymity through our phone line and our online form.”

“Citizen collaboration is essential in these kind of cases,” said British ambassador Simon Manley at the appeal launch.

Police have issued a European Arrest Warrant for Simon Corner, a yacht dealer from Liverpool who was in a relationship with Brown at the time of her disappearance.

Corner was originally interviewed by Guardia Civil detectives at the time of Lisa’s disappearance before fleeing the country. Detectives believed that a ‘violent episode’ had occurred at Brown’s home before she went missing.

He was later arrested via a European Arrest Warrant in Denmark and extradited back to Spain in 2016 but was then released on bail.

However, he broke his bail conditions and failed to sign in to his local police station last month and his whereabouts is now unknown.

Anyone with information can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 (UK) and 900 555 111 (in Spain) or via the online form here.

The reward will be paid out to any providing substantial information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible or results in identifying the whereabouts of the body. The reward will be valid for six months dating from March 23rd.