A sex offender who avoided justice for a quarter of a century by stealing the identity of his lover’s husband has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
Michael Anthony Evans (formerly Kime) has been jailed for a total of 15 years after being convicted of 10 counts of sexual assault that took place more than 25 years ago, and perverting the course of justice.
Evans, 62, who now lives in Margate, Kent, fled his home in Grantham with his friend’s wife in 1988, three weeks before a court hearing at which he was due to answer charges relating to a sexual assault on a young girl.
Lincoln Crown Court heard jilted Martyn Foster, 59, was left to bring up two daughters aged under-six after his wife Susan, 61, disappeared from Grantham with Michael Evans.
But Michael Evans was finally brought to justice in 2013 after police discovered the runaway couple were still living together in the South East of England and had used Mr Foster’s identity to help evade the authorities for over two decades.
Mr Foster, who still lives in Grantham, had reported his wife missing after she walked out in May 1988, but he never saw her again and knew nothing of her fate until she was tracked down during a routine cold case review two years ago.
The jury heard while on the run Michael Evans worked on farms fruit picking for cash in hand. He also used Mr Foster’s birth and marriage certificates to obtain a passport allowing him to travel to Crete to work picking olives when the season in Kent came to an end.
Then when Michael Evans settled down he found regular work on a farm which meant he needed a driving licence. Instead of using his own name he passed his test and obtained his licence in the name of Mr Foster. The couple later changed their names by deed poll to Evans.
Following a trial at Lincoln Crown Court, Michael Evans was sentenced on Friday to 12 years in prison for 10 counts of sexual assault that took place in the Grantham area of Lincolnshire between 1983 and 1988, and three years for one count of perverting the course of justice.
Passing sentence recorder Gareth Evans QC described the victim’s evidence as “heart-breaking”.
The recorder told Michael Evans: “You are a controlling man. You used and abused this girl for your own sexual purposes.
“You then disappeared for 25 years. It was a matter of luck that they found you and brought you to trial. The jury convicted you. They did not believe what you said. They did believe the girl. It is quite clear she is damaged by what you did to her.
“I have no doubt that a substantial prison sentence is what is required.”
The judge spared Susan Evans an immediate jail term after accepting she was not the main player in the conspiracy. She was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years.
Recorder Evans told her: “The two of you allowed Michael to evade coming to court for over 25 years. It wasn’t accidental that you embarked upon that process and you took a serious part in allowing it to continue and allowing him to adopt a name that wasn’t his but in those 25 years there is no evidence, apart from this, that you have done anything criminal.”
Speaking after the conclusion of the case, DC Nigel Smith, the senior investigating officer, said: “The offences Evans carried out were truly awful, aggravated even more by the fact that he decided to go on the run rather than face up to the crimes he committed all those years ago.
“I am pleased with the sentence given to him by the judge today and hope that seeing him brought to justice offers some solace to his victim and some closure after 25 years.
“I also hope it shows others that the police never stop working to bring to justice those who have acted unlawfully. If you have been a victim of a crime similar to this it is never too late to report it. If you are an offender who has carried out similar horrendous crimes then be assured that the police will catch up with you and ensure that you are held accountable.”