3 Apr 2024

Wanted British man Richard Burrows, 80, arrested after 27 years on run

9:13 am on 3 April 2024

By Jonny Humphries and Phil McCann, BBC News

Richard Burrows failed to attend the start of his trial over alleged child sex offences at Chester Crown Court in 1997.

Photo: Police handout

An 80-year-old man who has been on the run for almost three decades has been arrested after returning to the UK from Thailand, police have said.

Richard Burrows had failed to attend the start of his trial over alleged child sex offences at Chester Crown Court in 1997.

Cheshire Police said Burrows was arrested at Heathrow Airport on Thursday.

It said the charges relate to alleged child abuse between 1969 and 1981.

The force said extensive appeals had been made for information on Burrows' whereabouts, including one on the BBC's Crimewatch programme in 1998.

It added that some of the offences were to have occurred at a children's home in Cheshire and others were said to have happened in the West Midlands.

Burrows faced 13 counts, including 11 of indecent assault and two of a serious sexual offence, at Chester Crown Court earlier.

The alleged offences committed in Cheshire were between 1969 and 1971, while the alleged offences in the West Midlands were between 1971 and 1981.

Burrows appeared in court wearing a grey tracksuit.

The proceedings were delayed for a short time because he was having difficulty hearing.

Burrows spoke only twice - once to confirm his non-appearance 27 years ago, and again to confirm that a warrant for his arrest had been executed.

He had denied all of the charges he faces at an earlier hearing back in 1997, but he will enter pleas again at a hearing in June.

Burrows was remanded in custody and is due to face a further hearing on 21 June, ahead of a trial in January 2025.

Det Insp Eleanor Atkinson said his arrest was a "significant step forward" in the case.

"I also hope that his arrest acts as a warning to any other wanted suspects, demonstrating that no matter how long you hide, we will find you and you will be arrested," she added.

The force said it had worked with the National Crime Agency (NCA) to secure the arrest.

The NCA said it had identified Burrows was living in Thailand and planned to catch a flight to the UK, which meant Cheshire officers could arrest him at the airport.

This story was first published by the BBC.