Scottish Daily Mail

Guilty, sex predator who faked his own death in California

Rapist busker faces prison for targeting women and girls


A MARKET trader who made internatio­nal headlines by faking his own death in a bid to cheat justice has been found guilty of a catalogue of violent sexual attacks.

Kim Avis preyed on two girls and two women over an 11-year period and was due to stand trial for his crimes more than two years ago.

However, he failed to turn up at the High Court in Edinburgh, instead fleeing to California, where he faked his own drowning on a notoriousl­y dangerous beach.

Police officers soon became suspicious when they discovered that no one – not even Avis’s teenage son Ruben, who had accompanie­d him on the trip and raised the alarm – had seen him going into the water at Monastery Beach, near the upmarket resort of Carmel.

After disappeari­ng, pony-tailed Avis, who was also a well-known busker in Inverness, is thought to have used a variety of disguises to evade capture.

After being on the run for almost six months, he was tracked down by US marshals acting on a tip-off.

Following a three-day stakeout, they swooped on a cheap motel in Colorado Springs where he was hiding out, 1,300 miles from the beach where he went missing.

The father of nine was extradited back to Scotland and yesterday, following a two-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow, a jury took less than five hours to find him guilty.

Originally from Suffolk, Avis, 57, faced a total of 24 charges, but denied all of them.

However, he was convicted of 14 separate counts, including raping three of his victims, attempting to rape one of them and sexually assaulting a fourth.

The offences all took place between 2006 and 2017, mainly in the Inverness area, including at his former home, Wolves Den, above the village of Bunchrew, several miles west of the city.

The court heard harrowing testimony from his victims, including one who was just 12 when Avis first pounced after the pair had been at a car boot sale together in May 2016.

His victim described Avis as being in a ‘trance’ during a sex attack. Now aged 22, she told the court: ‘I remember telling him to snap out of it while trying to look at him – but there was absolutely nothing there.’

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Avis dismissed the allegation­s against him, saying they were ‘like reading a film script’.

Avis, who is also known as Kim Gordon, Kim Vincent and Ken Gordon Avis, was further convicted of failing to appear for the previous trial and was also placed on the sex offenders’ list.

Lord Sandison adjourned sentencing until June 11 in Edinburgh, when Avis is likely to receive a lengthy jail term.

As he was taken handcuffed to the cells, Avis said: ‘This is a tragedy for truth and justice.’

The truth is his audacious plot to avoid facing justice had begun to unravel almost as soon as he hatched it.

He and his son Ruben, then 17, flew to the US less than a fortnight before his trial was due to start in March, 2019. They made reservatio­ns at the £150-a-night Carmel River Inn a mile from Monastery Beach, but neither checked in on the day Avis disappeare­d despite booking and paying in advance.

Three days after he went missing and a huge air and sea search yielded no trace, detectives spoke to Avis’s ex-wife and learned of the charges against him. When they re-interviewe­d his son, huge holes appeared in his account.

Captain John Thornburg, of the Monterey County Sheriff’s department, recalled: ‘There was a lack of detail. The son couldn’t even tell us where his father went in under the water.

‘When that came up, we started to wonder if this was a hoax, and that he was trying to escape those charges back in Scotland.’

Police were also surprised at how calm Ruben was when he called 911 to report that his father had ‘gone into the water’ but had failed to return.

When Ruben later admitted he had not seen his father go into the water, officers delved deeper into Avis’s background and confirmed he was due in a Scottish court.

It later emerged Avis had given away his pet dogs to an animal sanctuary and sold his home shortly before flying to the US.

His third wife, 29-year-old American Brooke Myhre, is understood to have returned home to Montana with their toddler daughter.

A month before Avis was captured, Ruben hinted his father was still alive, suggesting he had most likely crossed into Mexico.

In July, 2019, US marshals traced a white Ford van Avis was driving and tracked him down to a cheap motel, where they arrested him in a dawn raid.

More than two years after his vanishing act, Kim Avis had pulled his last stunt.

‘Started to wonder if this was a hoax’

‘Gone into the water’

 ??  ?? Game up: Kim Avis arrested; left, the US beach search
Game up: Kim Avis arrested; left, the US beach search

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