Australian judge agrees to extradite former Accrington police officer over sexual assault allegations

First published in Hyndburn

AN AUSTRALIAN judge has agreed to extradite a former Accrington police sergeant back to the UK to face more than 20 allegations of sexually assaulting children.

The 76-year-old was arrested at his home on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on January 10 over allegations he abused a number of children between 1960 and 1974.

The order is understood to be the first extradition Eastern division's public protection unit has sanctioned for a number of years.

Police said the man, understood to be Jeffrey Lake, moved to Australia in 2002 after being made aware allegations had been made against him.

It's alleged most of the abuse, which dates back five decades, occurred when he lived in Accrington.

He is now being held by Australian officers on behalf of Blackburn police.

Detectives in the public protection unit are running the investigation and requested the pensioner's arrest.

The man appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday for a brief hearing, where he said he would not fight extradition proceedings instigated by police in East Lancashire.

The court was told he would remain at Brisbane's Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre until the Australian attorney-general Mark Dreyfus issues a surrender warrant.

A spokesperson for the attorney-general said that would happen ‘as soon as possible’.

British authorities will then have 60 days to make their way to Australia to collect the accused.

Lake’s alleged victims were abused over several years and they had been made aware he has been arrested, police said.

The allegations date from between 1960 and 1974 and relate primarily to when he lived in the Accrington area, although he also spent time in Oldham and Maghull near Liverpool.

A police spokeswoman said: “We will be sending an officer over to Australia to get him, but we do not yet have a time scale.

“He should be returned to Lancashire in a couple of months where he will be questions by officers in relation to the offences.”

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