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