An elderly pensioner who migrated to Western Australia almost 40 years ago was yesterday sentenced to eleven years for sexually assaulting four young girls in what is believed to be one of the oldest criminal cases ever prosecuted in Britain.
Reginald Davies, a former soldier with the British Royal Engineers, committed the attacks between 1949 and 1973 in Abertridwr, Wales, before migrating to Australia in 1974.
He is believed to have lived for at least 25 years in Perth, but in 2008 he was tracked down by two of his former victims to his home which he shared with his wife in a quiet suburban street in Wanneroo.
The women accosted him on his doorstep and then reported him to West Australian police.
The British Metropolitan Police Service’s specialist child abuse squad launched an investigation and a third and then fourth victim came forward.
Mr Davies, 78, was finally arrested in Perth and extradited to Britain in September last year.
He was convicted of two charges of child rape, two charges of attempted rape, eight counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child. He was cleared of one charge of child rape and one charge of attempted rape.
London metropolitan police child abuse squad Det. Sgt. Gary Davison said he was “ecstatic” with the final result from the police investigation.
“The bravery and courage these ladies have shown is inspiring,” he said.
“If they hadn’t come forward, he never would have been traced.”
He also voiced fears there may be other victims out there in the community.
“I hope it (the conviction) does inspire any other victims to come forward,” he said.
But he said police had no evidence Davies targeted children while in Australia, and he was not aware of any ongoing investigation by West Australian police.
Residents on Mr Davies’ street, populated with unassuming brick and tile homes on large garden blocks, described the elderly man and his wife as “quiet” and “retiring”.
“He seemed pretty nice and normal, but then they usually do,” one resident, who asked not to be named, said.
“It’s kind of unbelievable seeing him, to think, … but these things happened some time ago, so you don’t know what he was like back then,” he said.
“Does a leopard change its spots? You never know, do you,”