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Child sex offender surrendered after seeing himself on Crimewatch

Carlisle Crown Court Credit: ITV

A child sex offender who surrendered after seeing himself on Crimewatch having spent seven years at large has been handed a lengthy jail term.

Jeffrey Maclagan, 64, sexually abused an eight-year-old girl during the 1970s.

Carlisle Crown Court was told on Thursday how his victim initially felt unable to report the crimes at the time, partly because "she was frightened she wouldn't be believed".

However, after the police were later told, Maclagan was charged but failed to attend a magistrates' court hearing in February, 2012.

Jeffrey Maclagan Credit: Court reporter

A police appeal for his whereabouts was issued last month. And his barrister, Brendan Burke, told today's hearing: "He saw himself on Crimewatch and handed himself in."

Although a warrant had been issued when Maclagan failed to show at court in 2012, he had remained "at large" for seven years.

This was despite, said Mr Burke, him "working on the market in Keswick, often coming into daily contact with police in that capacity".

Maclagan admitted four charges of indecent assault on a child, and one of indecency with the youngster - offences which occurred in West Cumbria.

He was handed an eight-and-a-half-year jail term for what Judge Peter Davies called a "sustained and repeated course of conduct" which had a "profound and lifelong psychological impact" on the victim.

Maclagan, of no fixed address, must sign the sex offenders' register indefinitely.