Former Phuket media salesman, known locally as Peter Smith, faces 29 counts of sexual abuse after his arrest at Heathrow Airport, London. At 80 and in poor health, Richard Burrows, who was on the run for 27 years, is likely to die in prison if convicted.

A former media personality in Phuket looks set to die behind bars in the United Kingdom. It comes following 20 further criminal counts brought against him last Thursday. The news came from police in Cheshire in Britain’s Northwest. Burrows is presently facing 29 counts of sexual abuse and indecent assault over a thirty-year period in his home country. Richard Burrows’s arrest, after stepping off a flight from Thailand at Heathrow Airport, came after 27 years on the run. Known in Phuket as Peter Smith, an avuncular media salesman, the news has come as a jolt. Certainly to many expats on the resort island. However, at 80 years of age and in ill health, Richard Burrows can expect to die in prison. Undoubtedly, he is facing an extremely long sentence if found guilty of the serious criminal charges he must account for. His trial is expected to begin next year.

80-year-old Richard Burrows is led by officers on his last appearance before Cheshire Crown Court. (Inset) A photo released by police in 1997 when he went missing ahead of his original trial in December that year. He is now facing a total of 33 criminal charges and the very real prospect of dying behind bars for his crimes. (Source: Daily Mirror and Cheshire Police)

On Thursday, British police announced a raft of additional serious sex charges against an elderly Brit who was arrested in March after returning home from Thailand where he spent 27 years in hiding.

Richard John Ramsey Burrows had failed to turn up to a hearing at Cheshire Crown Court in December 1997. At that time, he was before the court charged with 13 counts, including two for buggery and others for sexual assault of victims.

Original offences occurred from 1966 to 1971. However, the new charges brought by police last Thursday run up to 1996, a year before Burrows took flight

The original offences occurred between 1966 and 1971. They are linked to children’s homes in Congleton, Cheshire, and another at Hartlebury, Worcestershire.

Afterwards, UK police, including the National Crime Agency (NCA), had been searching for the man. Indeed, he became one of Britain’s most elusive and notorious fugitives.

However, it appears that when Burrows returned to the United Kingdom in March, it was an act of surrender.

He was quietly arrested by police officers and immigration officials after stepping off a flight from Thailand to London’s Heathrow Airport. In short, his life was at an end.

Burrows managed to change his name to Peter Smith and lived undetected in Phuket for 20 years. Charged this week with using a false identity document

At length, the on-the-run former scoutmaster from Cheshire managed to change his name. Among the additional charges announced on Thursday by the Cheshire Constabulary were four counts of using a false identity document with intent.

Burrows had managed to change his name and identity while abroad. Afterwards, he used this identity to live among Phuket’s colourful expat community.

The UK man is facing a certain probability that he will die behind bars.

Sixteen further charges relating to sexual abuse will be heard at a new court date set for August 2nd. They relate to the vile sexual abuse of no less than 11 victims from 1966 to 1996.

UK courts have taken a very tough line with such sex offenders. Case last year linked to deported 57-year-old Paul McKee stands out. McKee had a Thai family

The UK courts, particularly in Britain’s Northwest, have taken a tough line with such offenders.

Last year, a UK judge told prolific offender 57-year-old Paul McKee that he would, in all likelihood, die behind bars. 

At the same time, he ordered that the prisoner certainly not be released before he was 90 years of age.

The danger of such criminals reoffending is extremely high.

57-year-old UK paedophile may have offended in Thailand as a judge jails him until he is 90 years old
Former Scottish football star jailed for sexual abuse of a girl in Chonburi after his 2023 arrest in Edinburgh

The UK man had been married with a Thai daughter when deported back to Britain in September 2022.

Judge David Swinnerton expressed an opinion that in the case before him, he was quite certain that the defendant had also committed crimes in Thailand.

New charges to be heard in court on August 2nd

Previously, in the case of Mr Burrows, he was ordered to appear before the court on June 21 with a trial date for January. The additional charges will be brought on August 2nd next.

Significantly, these new charges are dated up to the year before Mr Burrows fled the United Kingdom. This is indicative of a systematic pattern of offending which is known to be the case with such offenders.

The former Phuket resident is currently being held in custody under tight security.

Known in Phuket as Peter Smith, Burrows fronted for a well-known and popular media publication. In this role, he was Head of Sales.

Nonetheless, at 80 years of age, this year he experienced a decline in his health. At the same time, his finances began to fail. Friends advised him to travel back home.

Elderly expat well-liked within Phuket’s expat community. Foreign residents shocked by the revelation since his arrest in London in March after his return

Certainly, it is known that Burrows was formerly well-liked on the resort island. The expat community has been plunged into profound shock by the revelations which have emerged.

In contrast, following the arrest of Richard Burrows in March, British police were overjoyed.

Detective Inspector Eleanor Atkinson, in a statement to the Daily Mail, underlined the doggedness of British justice.

‘The relentless pursuit of Burrows over the past 27 years expresses hope that his arrest brings closure to those affected by his alleged crimes,’ she declared.

At the same time, the National Crime Agency (NCA) representative in Bangkok used the occasion to warn any other fugitives about the long arm of British law.

Duncan Barrage, the liaison officer for Thailand, praised the cooperation between law enforcement agencies. He stressed ‘the commitment to bringing fugitives to justice, no matter where they hide.’

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Further reading:

Former Scottish football star jailed for sexual abuse of a girl in Chonburi after his 2023 arrest in Edinburgh

57-year-old UK paedophile may have offended in Thailand as judge jails him until he is 90 years old

Police warn foreign fugitives Thailand is no longer a safe haven after Pattaya arrest of UK paedophile

Thailand tightens screening of foreign English teachers following paedophile arrest

Aussie with Thai wife arrested in Chachoengsao on sex abuse of a minor charge in New South Wales

Woman files false rape complaint against a local trader in Chonburi to get a free virus infection test

Australian man jailed for sexually abusing Thai children shows the depravity that authorities must tackle

Thailand tightens screening of foreign English teachers following paedophile arrest

It’s a hard station for Thai police and foreigners should understand better the job they do to keep order

Police looking at date rape theory in the probe into the death of 25-year-old Thai woman found in Thonburi

Calls to legalise prostitution in Thailand after Pattaya sex raid on Walking Street this week