British paedo nicked... as child victims weep
Moment the law caught up with civil servant
HANDCUFFED while his tearful child victims cower on a filthy bed beside him, this is the moment ex-Government policy adviser Michael Leach was unmasked as a predatory paedophile.Arrogant Leach, 51, once a senior ministerial aide at the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), scornfully whistled after he was arrested in a seedy Cambodian guest house for having sex with three girls as young as TEN.
In a pitiful scene, two of the waif-like little girls then hugged and wept uncontrollably after their horrific ordeal as cops shackled their hulking abuser.
Yesterday justice finally caught up with the former high-ranking civil servant as he was caged for 12 years by a Cambodian court for using child prostitutes.
Leach will be deported after his jail term. The court ordered two of the girls should receive 12million riel (£1,840) in compensation.
Warped Leach, who shared a bungalow with wife Nisha in leafy Kenley, Surrey, before his arrest last September, failed to appear at Phnom Penh's Municipal Court in the Cambodian capital citing ill health.
The sex beast, who also worked for communications watchdog Ofcom, was nicked after paying a £940 "sex contract" to a Cambodian fixer to spend a week with the three girls, aged ten, 12 and 15.
Shamefully, two of the girls' MOTHERS received cash for the arrangement. They were among five Cambodians to receive varying sentences for acting as accomplices in the purchase of child prostitution.
Cambodia has long been a magnet for foreign paedophiles due to poverty and corrupt law enforcement.
Ex-rock star and convicted paedophile Gary Glitter once used the south east Asian nation as a bolthole and a string of British child sex tourists have been arrested there.
But in recent years police and courts have increasingly clamped down on offenders.
Last year investigators for children's charity Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) took to motorbikes to track holidaymaker Leach after a tip-off he was preying on kids.
They saw him buy lollipops and underwear for the girls before following him to the Sneha One Guesthouse in the Kien Svay district on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
Police raided the ramshackle house and found Leach in a bedroom with youngsters aged ten and 12. He denied he had slept with the children.
Dad-of-one Tim Huon, 30, a child protection manager for APLE who was present at the raid, said last night: "The little girls were hugging and crying.
"It was so sad. When I got home I couldn't stop thinking about them and what they had been through.
"Leach is sick in the head and has now got what he deserves."
It wasn't the first time Leach had been arrested following claims of child abuse in Cambodia, where he had been taking regular holidays since 1995.
While a senior policy adviser with the DTI he was held in Phnom Penh in 2005 on suspicion of sexually abusing five youngsters at the rundown Lighthouse orphanage. Cops alleged he had been volunteering as an unqualified medic.
When Cambodian police seized his luggage they discovered a blue blazer, part of the uniform for Woodcote High School, which is close to Leach's south London home. In his hand-written evidence statement, seen by The Sun, Leach prominently wrote his DTI credentials in the top right-hand corner of the paperwork.
He admitted being in possession of the blazer but claimed he asked adult women to wear the uniform after meeting them for sex.
Leach denied the child abuse accusations and the allegations were later DROPPED. Prosecutors cited a lack of evidence.
APLE country director Seila Samleang, 31, said last night: "Leach was whistling when he was arrested this time. He was very confident. I believe he thought he would escape the charges like he had in 2005."
The former civil servant has been held on remand since September at the crowded Prey Sar prison on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
A report in a Cambodian newspaper earlier this year claimed that some inmates suffered from tuberculosis and insisted the prison was plagued with poor sanitation and sometimes lacked clean water.
At a court appearance in April, ashen-faced Leach appeared a shadow of his former cocky self.
Looking haggard after appearing to have lost several stone, he collapsed clutching his stomach.
Mr Samleang added: "I'm happy Leach is behind bars. I hope it will deter more British paedophiles coming here to abuse our children."
Leach, who married Nisha in Ealing, west London, in 1988, served time in the UK for forgery and rail fare evasion in 1999.
Appearing in the dock at London's City Of Westminster Magistrates' Court in a Mickey Mouse tie, Leach was sentenced to two months in prison for using a colour photocopy of his wife's annual £1,360 Gold Travelcard on a train from East Croydon to Victoria.
He told magistrates: "I work for a department that regulates fraud and forgery and to be found guilty of such a thing could be the end of my career."
However, Leach returned to his job at the DTI as a satellite law and licensing expert. His role took him across the world. In 2003 he also represented the DTI as a senior policy adviser in international communications at a Commonwealth summit in London alongside the then Energy Minister, Labour MP Stephen Timms.
Leach, who says he has degrees in economics and law, returned to the UK after his 2005 arrest, resigned from the DTI and took up a job with Ofcom.
After his arrest in 2010, one neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "We see him go off to work in a smart suit and occasionally he waves and says 'Hello'. I can't believe this."
Ofcom last night confirmed Leach worked there between 2005 and 2008 in a "junior role" as a technical adviser specialising in radio spectrum. A spokesman said: "Ofcom has no knowledge of Michael Leach's previous arrests. He was dismissed in 2008."
Ofcom say they are unable to say why Leach was sacked as he is appealing the decision.
They added he rarely travelled on Ofcom business and then only to European destinations.
Under Section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, a person can be prosecuted in the UK for child sex offences committed overseas. Now campaigners are calling for the British and Cambodian authorities to work closer so paedophiles such as Leach do not re-offend.
Christine Beddoe, director of child protection charity ECPAT UK, said last night: "When Leach finishes his sentence the authorities in both countries must make sure he is returned to the UK so he doesn't slip off to another country to abuse more children.
"At the moment it's not automatic for someone who commits sex offences abroad to be placed on the sex offenders register when they return to Britain, which is a major loophole."