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Child rapist tracked down to Broads

PUBLISHED: 13:18 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:02 03 July 2010

A CHILD rapist responsible for a series of "despicable and heinous" crimes was tracked to a cruiser on the Norfolk Broads after going on the run from police.

A CHILD rapist responsible for a series of “despicable and heinous” crimes was tracked to a cruiser on the Norfolk Broads after going on the run from police.

Michael Love, 51, was behind bars today after being jailed for 19-and-a-half years - among the longest terms possible for crimes of this type. The sentence was described as a “victory” for his young victims.

After the case at Grimsby Crown Court, detectives revealed how they traced Love, originally from Humberside, to a boat moored at Hickling and later to a house in Neatishead after he spent three-months at large.

Det Con Dharm Chatha, from Humberside police, said: “The police made extensive inquiries - and if we had not got him, he would still have been on the run.

“He was doing up a boat on the Norfolk Broads. When we got to him, he was not there and we traced him to a cottage in another part of the Broads. He tried to run from me and Det Sgt Gary Peck. He obviously didn't want to be caught.

“We will go and hunt people who are involved in serious offences. We won't just turn a blind eye to people wanted for serious offences.”

It is the second time this year that a serious criminal has been tracked to the county. In May suspected sex offender Martyn Hodges, who was wanted following a serious attack in a Kent car park, was found camping on a make shift site in woods near Whitlingham Broad, outside Norwich. He had been on Britain's most wanted list.

Love was arrested in February and finally brought to justice this week. On Tuesday he admitted five rapes, one attempted rape, nine indecent assaults and three charges of indecency with a child. The victims include two girls and one boy.

He also pleaded guilty to four separate offences of making indecent photographs of children between June and July last year. Love downloaded 41 images of children from the internet.

Love spent the majority of his time in Norfolk moored outside the Pleasure Boat Inn in Hickling. He also used a cottage in Neatishead, although police would not reveal the precise address.

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