Efforts to extradite sex offender blocked

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The Independent Online

Moves to extradite a sex offender who raped a 15-year-old girl have so far proved unsuccessful, police said today.

Detectives were hoping to bring Richard Guelbert back from Switzerland after he was traced through Facebook.



The 48-year-old was jailed in 1999 for 12 years after he was convicted of raping the girl in Nottinghamshire.



He was released in 2005 after he served half his sentence, but was subsequently recalled to prison.



He was freed again in January 2008 and told police he was living in South Normanton, Derbyshire, but he failed to sign the Sex Offenders Register and the authorities lost track of him.



Last month, he was traced to the remote Swiss village of Obermumpf, about 30 miles north-west of Zurich after police appealed for information as to his whereabouts.



Officers from Derbyshire Constabulary have since visited him and been in touch with Interpol and The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre as part of its investigation.



But today, a spokesman for the force said it had so far failed to bring Guelbert back to the UK.



He said: "We would like to stress that every effort has been made to return him to England under all of the available legislation.



"Unfortunately, to get a warrant, there needs to be a like-for-like offence between the two countries.



"We have attempted to obtain an arrest warrant but because breaching a Sex Offenders Register is not an offence in Switzerland, we have been unable to obtain a warrant.



"We realise this is not only frustrating for ourselves but also to the victim in this case."



Guelbert's victim, now 27, told the Derby Telegraph she was shocked he could not be extradited to the UK.



She said: "At least I know that if he never returns to England, myself and my children will always be safe. That has to be my priority.



"Before he went to Switzerland, he must have known that he could get away with it. He must have looked into which countries would extradite him.



"I hope the Swiss authorities keep a close eye on him. I would hate for him to ruin some other child's life in the way that he ruined mine."



Derbyshire Constabulary said earlier that at the time Guelbert fled to Switzerland he was not subject to any travel banning orders although he did breach the terms of his sentence by failing to sign the Sex Offenders' Register.



Had police known he planned to travel overseas they would have tried to seize his passport, a spokesman added.