A British convicted paedophile who fled the UK has reportedly been charged with sexually abusing children in Bulgaria, following a BBC investigation.
Daniel Erickson-Hull was found living as a self-styled evangelical preacher in a poor Roma community in the town of Sliven, by BBC Radio 4’s File on 4.
He was charged on Friday with abusing four boys under the age of 16, regional prosecutors told AFP.
He was jailed for 15 months in 2017 on child pornography offences.
Erickson-Hull, 44, from Plaistow, in east London, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for having hundreds of indecent images of children.
Erickson-Hull has breached strict court orders which banned him from leaving the UK without informing the authorities or being alone with children.
He was already the subject of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW), according to the Metropolitan Police.
In the early hours of Thursday, he was arrested by Bulgarian police at his home in Sliven, where he was found in the presence of six boys, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Interior said in a press statement.
He was initially detained for 24 hours, but that was extended to 72 hours following a prosecutor’s order, according to the statement.
“It has been documented that the detainee repeatedly abused sexually minor victims from the town,” the statement added.
It continued: “He has legitimised his stay and contacts with minors from the neighbourhood, in which he lived in Sliven, pretending to be a pastor preaching a Christian denomination.”
“The charges… are for sexual abuse between January and September 2019,” Vanya Beleva, a spokeswoman for the Bulgarian regional prosecutors’ office told AFP.
The Metropolitan Police said Thursday’s arrest did not relate to the offence linked to the current EAW.
Meanwhile, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said it was aware of Erickson-Hull’s arrest “as a result of an ongoing Bulgarian investigation”.
A spokesperson for the NCA said it had “provided and will continue to provide liaison support to the Bulgarian authorities and to the Metropolitan Police Service”.
An investigation by the BBC’s File on 4 has discovered that 581 convicted sex offenders are missing or have failed to report to UK police forces.
When confronted by journalist Paul Kenyon, Erickson-Hull denied being a “paedophile on the run” and disputed that he was spending time with unaccompanied children.
PC Steve Fitzpatrick of the Metropolitan Police, who appeared on the programme, said he was ‘horrified’ at seeing Erickson-Hull living freely in Bulgaria.