A MAN extradited to Britain from Ireland has been jailed for 23 years after being found guilty of 24 counts of historical sexual abuse against five teenage boys in Crewe, Cheshire.
Anthony Spelman, 57, was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday, November 10 for three counts of rape, two counts of indecency with a child and 19 counts of indecent assault.
Spelman came to the attention of authorities in Britain after his victims in Crewe read press articles about a similar offence in Ireland and contacted police.
Following his sentencing, a spokesperson for Cheshire Constabulary described Spelman's crimes as 'despicable'.
Offences in Ireland
The case against Spelman — previously of Arbour Hill Prison in Ireland — began in 2017 after a number of men saw a court article about him in Irish media and contacted police to report they had been victims of Spelman in Crewe.
The article reported how Spelman had been handed a suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a seven-year-old boy in Ireland between 1985 and 1986.
All of the men in Crewe reported they had also been sexually abused by him as teenage boys while living in Crewe between October 1993 and 2002.
They said Spelman would often provide them with alcohol and take them out in his car, on occasions letting them drive.
An investigation was subsequently launched by Cheshire Police and Spelman was initially arrested for the offences in Crewe in 2018, while serving his suspended sentence in Ireland.
However, while officers were conducting enquiries, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Ireland appealed the sentence and Spelman was handed a custodial sentence.
This was extended after more offences in Ireland came to light while he was serving his sentence.
The Cheshire Constabulary investigation continued and in March 2023, Spelman was extradited to Britain after his prison sentence in Ireland ended.
Following the extradition, detectives were finally able to charge and remand him for the Crewe offences.
He was found guilty on Tuesday, September 5 after a 12-day trial at Chester Crown Court.
"Firstly, I would like to thank the victims for their bravery in coming forward and the strength they have shown throughout the trial after Spelman refused to take accountability for his horrendous actions," said Detective Sergeant Lindsay Wooffitt.
"I hope his sentence provides them with some sense of closure after carrying this on their shoulders for 20-30 years.
"Spelman was found guilty of despicable crimes, targeting young boys in the community where they lived, somewhere they should have been able to feel safe.
"In interview, he tried to deny the allegations, but justice has now been served and he is facing a lengthy spell behind bars.
"I hope Spelman's conviction and sentencing encourages anyone who has been subjected to similar offending to report it to police."
On top of his 23-year sentence, Spelman will serve a further one year on licence.
He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for an indefinite period and must sign the Sex Offender Register for an indefinite period.