A family man on the run from the law for 21 years has finally been traced found dead – buried under a false identity 9,000 miles away in Australia.
Paul Metcalfe left his home in Columbus Ravine, Scarborough, for the sandy beaches and year round sunshine of Queensland rather than face a trial over allegations on indecent assault allegedly committed on a 35-year-old woman in Scarborough in 1994.
North Yorkshire Police became suspicious in 1995 because he had vanished from a temporary bail address in Wilton Parade, Blackpool.
He was not responding to court summons to answer the serious indictable-only offence.
A warrant was issued for his arrest at York Crown Court in 1995 and an all-ports alert made for him to be arrested on sight if he tried to use his passport to leave or re-enter the UK.
Each year since 1995 a judge sitting with Crown Prosecution Service lawyers has re-examined the warrant to see if the police have new leads in their search.
Efforts to bring him to justice stalled until September last year when prosecutors revealed they had discovered an elaborate deception.
Crown barrister Steve Welch told Hull Crown Court Mr Metcalfe had been missing since 1995 and enquires were made in North Yorkshire recently.
“Paul Metcalfe applied to renew his passport with the Australian High Commission as he is an Australian citizen,” explained Mr Welch.
“That was refused on the basis the Australian High Commission had a record of him dying in Queensland, Australia.
“Investigations were carried out and it appears that Paul Metcalfe had assumed his brothers’ identity and had been living with his wife and daughter in Australia. When he died his body was buried under a false identity.
“This is a Scarborough matter that was being dealt with in York. The British Coroner has shown no interest in the death as he appears to be a foreign national. The Australian records are inaccurate.”
Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, asked Mr Welch: “Is the Paul Metcalfe we are concerned about alive or dead?”
Mr Welch replied “We believe he is dead. Bear in mid his wife and brother maybe implicated in involvement in his false identity.”
Judge Richardson QC ordered the warrant should remain open until a formal letter of confirmation of the death could be completed by Australian authorities.
In a hearing at Hull Crown Court earlier this month Judge Richardson QC was given confirmation of the death by Mr Welch and the outstanding warrant was quashed.
He also recorded a formal not guilty verdict against the charge. The only court to try someone after their death is in Russia.
Mr Metcalfe’s wife and family are believed to have returned to the UK.