Update: Griffiths has now served his sentence and has since returned to the Aberystwyth area

November 2005

Fugitive rapist is finally jailed

A child rapist extradited from Germany after going on the run, has been jailed for 10 years – and given an extra nine months for contempt of court.

Ex-teacher Benjamin Griffiths, 64, from Aberystwyth, was sentenced to 10 years in his absence last December for raping a nine-year-old girl.

He was extradited back to the UK last week and appeared before Chester Crown Court on Wednesday.

He was tracked down after applying for a pet passport for his dog.

Griffiths had been granted bail throughout his original trial at Chester and disappeared on the final day.

He was arrested in April in Karlsruhe in the south west of Germany.

Judge Roger Dutton told Griffiths that he had made a “calculated and determined attempt to put an impediment in the way of the trial”.

He added: “Extensive inquiries were made to find out where you were. They proved unsuccessful as you had made determined arrangements to leave the country altogether.

“You caused a huge amount of expense by your disappearance. Fortunately the case had attracted a great deal of publicity and that publicity encouraged members of the public to come forward to try to assist in your apprehension.

“As I recall, I had described you as a very dangerous and worrying individual.”

In a statement before Wednesday’s hearing, the victim’s family said they were relieved Griffiths had been caught.

They said: “We are obviously relieved he has been caught and will finally be dealt with.”

Detectives in Wales worked with the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) and German police during the search for Griffiths.

Acting Detective Inspector Mark James of Dyfed-Powys Police said: “The family had gone through the trauma of the trial and giving evidence in court, then it was as though they had been robbed of their moment of justice,” he said.

“The child involved had shown a lot of courage giving evidence.”

The court heard the case to track down Griffiths had cost the taxpayer almost £14,000.

After being arrested in Germany, Griffiths contested his extradition, but was eventually returned to the UK this week.

Dec 2004

Police alert as paedophile on the run

Police are today hunting a paedophile who went on the run after raping a nine-year-old girl, and the last communication with him appears to have come from the Warwickshire area.

Benjamin Griffiths, 63, was found guilty of rape and indecent assault following a trial at Chester Crown Court last week.

He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in his absence, after he failed to turn up to the hearing.

Judge Roger Dutton issued a warrant for his arrest and described Griffiths as an “intelligent and dangerous character”.

The court heard that Griffiths, a former teacher with extreme religious views, took advantage of the girl following the death of her mother.

Griffiths used to live in Aberystwyth, west Wales. Dyfed Powys Police, co-ordinating the search, appealed for anyone who sees him to get in touch as soon as possible.

A spokeswoman for the force admitted: “The last communication with Mr Griffiths appears to have come from the Warwickshire area, so he could be anywhere.”