A WARMINSTER man who fled the country after sexually assaulting a teenage boy who he had locked up in his flat for three hours has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Paul Collins, 39, originally from Warminster, who went to live in Spain, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a child at Winchester Crown Court on January 12, and was sentenced on February 9 after he was arrested for failing to appear at a police station during his bail term and brought back to the UK.

The court heard how in August 2016 Collins invited the 14-year-old boy into his flat after promising him drink and drugs.

The boy was then assaulted by Collins who refused to let him leave his flat for up to three hours. Collins was arrested the same day and released on conditional bail.

Det Con Melanie Wilson, who was the officer in charge, said: "This is a good result for us after Paul Collins left the country hoping to avoid prosecution.

"However, despite telling us he would never be caught, we managed to and brought him back to the UK to face justice.

"I'd like to thank the victim for his bravery in coming forward and recounting what is obviously a distressing time for him.

"I hope it gives him some closure knowing that this man has been jailed.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who may have been a victim of sex abuse, whether recent or historic, to report it to police.

"We will investigate, provide you with the full support you need, and do all that we can to bring to justice offenders like Collins.

"Please contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Victims can also seek support and counselling from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre based at the New Swindon Sanctuary. They can be contacted on the 24 hour helpline on 0808 168 0024.