Paedophile fraudster with dozens of aliases jailed for people smuggling after 28 years on run
A paedophile fraudster with more than 40 aliases who evaded justice for 28 years after absconding from prison has been jailed for three years and eight months for attempting to smuggle eight Albanian migrants into the UK.
Charles Lynch was stopped aboard a 46ft motor cruiser Saquerlotte III after a high-speed chase by Border Force vessels in the English Channel off Littlehampton, West Sussex, on November 6, 2019.
The 64-year-old, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court after pleading guilty to assisting unlawful immigration and two counts of possessing false identification documents.
Judge David Melville QC told Lynch, who has 93 previous convictions: “You are a resourceful, experienced and professional criminal.”
He said that Lynch had “exploited” the migrants, including an eight-year-old child, adding: “These were eight refugees and they had been persuaded you would be driving them to England.”
He ordered Lynch to also serve the 902 days outstanding from his previous unfinished jail sentence.
The rented yacht, which had travelled from Le Havre, France, was stopped after a chase which reached speeds of up to 36 knots (41mph).
Lynch, who gave his name as Wolfram Maximilian Steidl, told officers he was running a navigation school for his passengers, who were wearing branded sweatshirts and baseball caps.
The boat was escorted to Portsmouth Naval Base and the five men, two women and child were handed over to immigration authorities.
Paul Douglass, prosecuting, listed offences of fraud, theft, burglary, possession of a firearm and possession of an indecent photo of a child spanning nearly five decades committed by London-born Lynch across Sussex, Hampshire and Cornwall, as well as in France and Austria.
He added: “He is a dedicated and resourceful criminal.”
Charles Langley, defending, said Lynch, who believed he was born in Russia, became involved in the smuggling operation to pay for medical bills which could not be covered by the NHS because of his outlaw status.
A spokeswoman for the National Crime Agency said Lynch had absconded from Maidstone Prison on November 5, 1992, while on home leave after serving a year of a seven-year sentence for theft, fraud and forgery.
She said Lynch used various aliases to evade the authorities during his time on the run and was found in possession of a selection of false identity documents, including a Danish driving licence and Romanian ID card.
“He had also been convicted and jailed for a number of offences in France, including possessing indecent images of children, under another identity.”
Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) National Crime Agency / PA Wire.