Dominic Raab to look into case of Barnsley paedophile given perrmission to take holiday

Dominic Raab/Matthew Thompson
Dominic Raab was asked about the case of Matthew Thompson by Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis. Credit: PA/South Yorkshire Police

An MP has called on the justice secretary to carry out an urgent review after a convicted paedophile was given permission to go on holiday before he was sentenced.

Matthew Thompson, from Barnsley, admitted sexually abusing two girls but was told by a judge he could go on a pre-arranged break to Greece while on bail awaiting sentencing.

He was later jailed for almost 16 years.

Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, said the decision was "completely unacceptable" and called on Dominic Raab to prevent such cases in future.

In a letter to the justice secretary he described Thompson's crimes as "truly sickening", saying they caused "revulsion locally". He added: "To grant such lenient bail conditions to a dangerous individual to travel abroad and afford him the trust to return to face what is likely to be a lengthy prison sentence in my view, is not remotely appropriate and a decision that requires urgent review."

Thompson pleaded guilty to 10 sex offences against children, including sexual assault of a child under 13, making indecent images of a child and sexual activity with a child.

Matthew Thompson was sentenced to almost 16 years in jail. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

The court heard the lorry driver abused one of the girls when she was just seven years old, and assaulted the second victim after plying her with alcohol and drugs.

While waiting to be sentenced, he was told by Judge Jonathan Gibson he could go abroad, with the condition that he reported to Barnsley police station on the day he returned home.

Thompson later decided to stay in the UK and did not travel. He was sentenced to 15 years and 10 months in prison, was handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for life.

Mr Jarvis wrote to Mr Raab after an exchange in the House of Commons about the case.

The letter added: "The public are understandably incredulous as to how such a dangerous individual, who pleaded guilty to every offence – of the most serious nature – put before him, was afforded the luxury to go on holiday – regardless of whether he took the opportunity or not. Frankly, I am too."

In response to Mr Jarvis's comments in the Commons, Mr Raab said: "I cannot comment on individual cases, but I understand the concern in cases like this."

He has since agreed to look into the case.

Mr Jarvis said: "Thompson caused his victims to suffer terribly and they are very much in my thoughts at what will have been a very distressing time.

"It’s completely unacceptable and that’s why in Parliament, I raised my very serious concerns with the justice secretary, who has agreed to look into this. I’ll be awaiting his response."

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