Couple jailed as police hunt for their baby

Police hunting for the newborn child of a paedophile said last night that they believed the baby was being kept in Thailand.

Police hunting for the newborn child of a paedophile said last night that they believed the baby was being kept in Thailand.

The six-week-old infant's parents, Andrew Milton and his Thai-born wife Sakunna, were each jailed for six months on Thursday for refusing to reveal its whereabouts. However, following interviews in prison, officers said they now believed the baby was with a member of its mother's family in Thailand.

Social services have been granted permission to take the child into care because Milton, a 38-year-old businessman from Wellington, Somerset, is believed to pose a grave threat to its safety.

In a dramatic confrontation at the High Court in Taunton, Judge Cotterill had told Mrs Milton, through an interpreter: "Your husband is a paedophile. The court considers your husband to be a great danger to children." The judge explained that she might be allowed custody of her child if she cooperated with the authorities.

When the 23-year old continued to withhold information, Judge Cotterill jailed the couple and then took the unusual step of identifying the child by naming its parents yesterday. He also issued a Section 50 order which means that anyone with information about the baby must contact the police or face prosecution themselves. Milton is not believed to be on the Sex Offenders Register or to have been convicted of a previous paedophile offence.

Judge Cotterill made his statement that he was a paedophile in a civil court, which can reach a judgment based on the "balance of probabilities" rather than "beyond reasonable doubt". The court had heard evidence that police officers had found pornographic CD-roms and e-mails relating to Milton's sexual exploits with young females on previous visits to Thailand during a search of his home.

Milton was described by a neighbour, who asked not to be named, as a quiet man. She said: "I've seen him around a few times with his wife and he seemed quite a nice chap, but he kept himself to himself."

Fears were first raised about the baby when Mrs Milton, who is only believed to have lived in Britain for seven months, was reported missing during her pregnancy in May. Following a police appeal, and reports that the couple had gone into hiding, the Miltons returned to Wellington at the beginning of July without their baby.

However, police have found a photograph of the mother with a baby and are working on the assumption that the child, aged about six weeks, is alive.

Judge Cotterill has granted Somerset County Council two orders to help their investigation into the Miltons. The first gives them access to travel-company records to discover if the couple have returned to Thailand since the birth of the child. The second allows them to examine computer equipment seized from their home in Wellington from where Mr Milton runs a furniture business.

Abuse of young boys and girls is rampant in Thailand and the country is a favourite destination for Western paedophiles. In November a Briton, Robert Errol Woods, was jailed for 42 years by the Thai authorities for abusing homeless boys but other Britons have escaped punishment by paying off their victims' families.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before