Sunday People

Child sex trafficker from Germany lives yards from school


A GERMAN fiend who trafficked children for sex has been living 500 yards from a school while fighting extraditio­n from the UK to face punishment.

Thorsten Reisenauer, 46, was on the run for five years after an Italian court convicted him in his absence over a prostituti­on ring that exploited women and underage girls.

He was held at Heathrow in August last year after he was spotted arriving for a short trip to the UK.

And during a year-long battle to avoid being sent back to serve his nine-year sentence, Reisenauer has been staying in a flat in Croydon, South London – a short walk from a secondary school with 900 pupils.

On Friday, a judge ruled he will be extradited and he is set to be put on a plane to Italy within days, barring a last-ditch appeal.

The court that convicted Reisenauer in Italy heard how he smuggled two children into the country after luring them with the promise of working “in a club”.

He is said to have then confiscate­d their passports and forced them to sell sex on the street, controlled by a criminal gang.

Reisenauer brought 17 more girls and women from Romania in 2005 and 2006 to work as prostitute­s near Venice, prosecutor­s said.

But in 2005, two of the underage girls escaped and told police Reisenauer – who they knew as “The German” – ran the organisati­on. He is said to have given instructio­ns on how much to charge for sex and on using contracept­ion – and to have told the women and girls he exploited not to engage with Albanians or Moroccans.

The fiend was never arrested or questioned ahead of his trial because Italian authoritie­s were unable to find him. After the trial went ahead in his absence, he was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2018. Italian officers issued a warrant last year after Reisenauer was arrested by the UK’S National Crime Agency.

On Friday, he appeared at Westminste­r magistrate­s court with a threeman legal team in a bid to fight extraditio­n. According to court documents, he claimed he has a “settled family life” in Germany.

His lawyers said extraditio­n would be unjust given the time since the offences and that the move would be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But District Judge Anthony Callaway ruled Reisenauer would be extradited and he was given seven days to appeal.

A court official said his ID documents were seized and his conditiona­l bail includes a 1am to 5am curfew. He has already paid a £30,000 security.

Reisenauer’s alleged accomplice was arrested in his native Romania in December 2006. Prosecutio­n files indicate that Italian police also arrested two further members of the gang.

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