Pae­dophile sus­pect’s mon­i­tor ‘could not have fallen off ’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE BEHR

AL­LEGED Bri­tish pae­dophile Nigel Lee Tucker is back be­hind bars at the Sea Point po­lice sta­tion, wait­ing for the court to de­ter­mine if he tam­pered with his elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing de­vice.

He may also be in more hot wa­ter next week if the mag­is­trate rules harshly against him for fail­ing to com­ply with a bail con­di­tion re­quir­ing him to reg­is­ter a R5 mil­lion bond of se­cu­rity.

The State con­tends that Tucker tam­pered with the de­vice’s re­tain­ing clip on the evening of Septem­ber 21, set­ting off a strap tam­per alarm in Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices’ Pre­to­ria con­trol room. A fur­ther body tam­per alarm was recorded al­most three hours later, in­di­cat­ing the de­vice may have been re­moved for about a minute.

Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices re­sponded tardily, the court heard, only call­ing Tucker the next day at about 7am. Even though the call went unan­swered, of­fi­cers only ar­rived at Tucker’s Green Point home two hours later.

“The response time was dis­mal,” mag­is­trate Grant En­gel re­marked dur­ing pro­ceed­ings. Tucker was later ar­rested and has been held since then at the Sea Point cells.

The Welsh he­li­copter pi­lot and IT con­sul­tant, aged 52, was ar­rested at his home on March 18 fol­low­ing a UK ex­tra­di­tion re­quest for him to face 42 sex­ual of­fence charges re­lat­ing to boys younger than 16.

At hear­ings fol­low­ing his ar­rest, the State ar­gued that most of the charges against Tucker re­lated to anal or oral sex with un­der-age boys, which con­sti­tutes rape un­der South African law.

In April, State ad­vo­cate Dave Damerell strongly op­posed bail, saying Tucker had ab­sconded from the UK in early 2000 while on bail, and had three UK ar­rest war­rants is­sued against him while liv­ing in Cape Town.

“He be­came a fugi­tive from jus­tice and that makes him a flight risk. He’s not to be trusted. He has the re­sources to fly and flee.”

Damerell fur­ther sub­mit­ted Tucker was “an op­por­tunist who deems him­self above the law”.

“If he, as a Bri­tish cit­i­zen, can on a whim be­lit­tle and un­der­mine his na­tive le­gal sys­tem, it will be much eas­ier for him to do so when a for­eign le­gal sys­tem, such as ours, fails to suit his taste,” he said.

Damerell also ques­tioned the ef­fi­cacy of elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing, point­ing out that ac­cord­ing to the Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Depart­ment’s own pol­icy pro­ce­dures, elec­tronic an­kle bracelet mon­i­tor­ing de­vices were only ap­pro­pri­ate for “await­ing trial per­sons who are not a flight risk”.

The court nev­er­the­less ruled on April 26 that Tucker was un­likely to flee, and re­leased him on R150 000 bail and an ad­di­tional surety of a R5m bond of se­cu­rity on his Green Point house.

Tucker’s strict bail con­di­tions in­cluded 24-hour house ar­rest and con­fis­ca­tion of his pass­ports.

In ad­di­tion to his house ar­rest be­ing mon­i­tored by Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices, the court also or­dered Tucker be fit­ted with an elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing de­vice.

Dur­ing the in­quiry into the al­leged tam­per­ing, En­gel asked ex­pert state wit­ness Thabo Ratau to spec­u­late. Ratau tes­ti­fied Tucker’s de­vice “could not just have fallen off ”, and that there was ev­i­dence of tam­per- ing. Cit­ing marks on the re­tain­ing clip, he said these in­di­cated it had been bro­ken with an ob­ject like a screw­driver.

Tucker was re­manded in cus­tody un­til En­gel’s rul­ing early next week.


Wanted UK pae­dophile sus­pect Lee Tucker ar­rives for his ap­pear­ance at Cape Town Mag­is­trate’s Court this week.

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