Three members of the same family have gone on trial accused of helping a fourth paedophile member evade justice.
Twice convicted child abuser Frank Burgon went on the run in Europe for several months in 2013, a jury at Teesside Crown Court heard.
Brother George Burgon is accused of helping Frank lie low in an apartment in Gran Canaria.
Frank Burgon’s partner Christine Officer is alleged to have helped him by sending him money, and by dealing with more than £19,000 he sent to her from the sale of a yacht. Frank Burgon’s niece Alison Connor is accused of trying to contact him several times when he was abroad, and of being in regular contact with Officer.
Prosecutor Paul Newcombe gave the jury a timeline of events which he said amounted to a conspiracy by all four defendants to keep Frank Burgon out of the jurisdiction of British justice.
May 9, 2012: Frank Burgon arrested and questioned about an allegation of child abuse. He was bailed the same day.
July 12, 2012: Frank Burgon flies to Turkey from Newcastle airport, in breach of bail, and in breach of licence conditions from his previous sentence for child abuse.
July 20, 2012: He was due to return to UK, but does not do so.
August 19, 2012: Frank Burgon buys a yacht, the Lady Calypso, in Turkey.
September 9, 2012, Frank Burgon returns to the UK and is arrested and charged with historic sex offences.
October 8, 2012: He is bailed on a £50,000 surety provided by Officer, bail conditions include an electronic tag and a ban on foreign travel.
March 2, 2013: Frank Burgon flees the country a second time, using the Eurotunnel and the passport of an elderly family member who has dementia.
March 4, 2013: He buys a railway ticket in Paris.
March 6, 2013: Police interview Officer at home. They notice she tries to hide a laptop computer on which searches for ‘G4S leg tags’ and ‘passport control’ have been made.
February and March, 2013: Connor and Officer make numerous attempts to ring Frank Burgon.
March 28, 2013: Officer receives a bank transfer of £19,155 from a Norwegian man who has bought the Lady Calypso. Within days Officer buys £15,000 Premium Bonds and withdraws £4,000 cash.
December 22, 2013: George Burgon meets his brother in Gran Canaria and takes him to a rented apartment.
December 29, 2013: Spanish police arrest Frank Burgon after being tipped off by neighbours in the apartment complex.
While in a Spanish prison, Frank Burgon writes to Christine Officer, telling her: “George has got all the money, see if Alison can get it back, I never spent what you sent me.”
January 12, 2014: Frank Burgon extradited to the UK.
May 15, 2014: A business card relating to the sale of the Lady Calypso is found in George Burgon’s house.
June 9, 2014: Frank Burgon pleads guilty to child sex offences and is jailed for 47 months.
Mr Newcombe told the jury: “Each of the defendants say they played no part in helping Frank Burgon while he was on the run, and were largely oblivious to where he was. The Crown say it is reasonable to infer from their actions over that time they did know what was going on, and did help Frank Burgon evade justice.”
When interviewed by police, Frank Burgon refused to answer any questions about absconding. Officer made no reply to all questions she was asked. George Burgon said he had met his brother in Gran Canaria ‘reluctantly’, and had tried to report him to Spanish police but officers there had told him to come back with an interpreter.
Connor admitted being in regular contact with Officer, but said she was only concerned with Frank Burgon’s welfare. Hartlepool man Frank Burgon, 79, now of Borough Road, Middlesbrough, George Burgon, 77, and Connor, 52, both of the Old Bungalow, Field House Farm, Dalton Piercy, and Officer, 63, of Bruntoft Road, Hartlepool, deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.