Man caged for historic sex offences

Philip Knowles
Philip Knowles

A sexual predator who committed a string of sex offences in St Helens in the 1970s has been jailed after a European Arrest Warrant brought him back to the UK to face justice.

Philip Knowles, 54, was living in the Oasis del Sur area of Tenerife when a Europe-wide warrant for his arrest was issued in April.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how he was then taken to Madrid where officers from the Matrix Serious Organised Crime specialist Unity team brought him back to the UK.

He was subsequently charged with a number of historic sex offences and was found guilty earlier this week of four counts of gross indecency with a boy under the age of 14 and eight counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16.

As well as being sentenced to eight years in prison he was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and disqualified from working with children under the age of 16 years.

Det Insp Bev Hyland said: “Knowles is starting a long prison sentence after a jury found him guilty of a number of offences carried out over a 10-year period between 1970 and 1980 while he was living in the St Helens area.

“His victims have shown an immense amount of bravery in coming forward and having to re-live the abuse they suffered at Knowles’ hands.

“I hope his sentencing gives them some sense of closure and also provides wider reassurance that a dangerous and determined sex offender is now behind bars.”

She added: “I would like to reassure anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse that any complaint will be taken extremely seriously.

“They will be investigated by specially trained officers who will offer support every step of the way.”

“I’d also like to thank officers and our partners in the Crown Prosecution Service for their dedication and commitment throughout what has been a long and complex investigation.”