Littleport man, 70, accused of travelling to America to engage in sex with boys and of attempted sex trafficking of children

Paul Charles Wilkins

Paul Charles Wilkins - Credit: Archant

A Littleport man – jailed in this country in 2011 for child sex offences- faces life in prison in America after being charged with trying to engage in sex with 10 and 12 year-old boys.

A federal grand jury this week indicted Paul Charles Wilkins, 70, with one count of travelling to the USA with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of attempted sex trafficking of children.

American newspaper reports explain that the sex trafficking allegation arose after Wilkins allegedly brokered a deal to pay $250 to have sex with a nine-year-old boy at a rented apartment.

“My office is committed to protecting children from predators – whether the predators are foreign or domestic,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “When this defendant’s original plan was thwarted, he made other arrangements to sexually abuse a child. He must be held accountable for these crimes.”

Under American law Wilkins will now be arraigned (brought before a court) on March 4. On the first count, if found guilty, American law allows for a sentence of up to 30 years.

On the child trafficking offence, if proven, the maximum sentence is life without parole.

The investigation was carried out by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

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Media reports in the States say that Wilkins – who holds dual British and American nationality-, told his probation officer before leaving England he was going house hunting in the States.

In 2011 a judge at Cambridge Crown Court described the offences committed in this country by Wilkins as “one of the worst” involving child sex he had encountered.

Wilkins, of High Street, Littleport, who had been a volunteer both at Ely Cathedral and with the Salvation Army, was jailed for 56 months. He admitted being in possession of thousands of indecent images of children.

In total he faced 16 charges dating from 2006 to 2010.

Among the images with 54 at level 5, this included 37 films, which are rated as the most severe.

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told Wilkins: “It’s one of the worst cases this court has experienced.

“You have been able to place yourself in a fantasy world and in which you have abandoned any moral sense whatsoever.

“It is perfectly plain that you are entrenched in this.”

The judge ordered Wilkins to serve at least half the 56 month sentence and said that upon his release he would be on licence for the remainder. The licence was also extended for a further four years “for public protection”.