Former York resident, Peter Hofschröer, who was convicted of child sex abuse offences last year, has been extradited to Austria after lengthy legal proceedings which concluded last month.
A jury at Teesside Crown Court found him guilty of 16 counts relating to the downloading over 36,000 images and videos.
Judge Tony Briggs QC, in his sentencing remarks, described Hofschröer’s defence, in which he tried to blame many others including his own family, a fellow military historian and the police for the illegal images, as “quite outrageous”. He was jailed for 30 months and placed on the sex offenders register for life.
It was, originally, understood that Hofschröer left the Highgate, North London address, to which he had been bailed, on July 6th, 2017, a short time before he was due to attend Kentish Town police station and went AWOL. He had been summoned to appear there as part of arrangements to transfer him to Austria later that day .
The owner of the property, Belinda McKenzie, a child abuse campaigner, has since deleted her Facebook post relating to the ‘disappearance’ and has subsequently posted that her house guest did, in fact, surrender to the authorities on the 6th July. That was, apparently, in response to a report of a 5 year old girl being assaulted within 200 yards of her home on 9th July, 2017.
Hofschröer failed last month, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, to either stay, or overturn, an extradition Order over allegations relating to a raft of further sex abuse offences, slander, threatening a judge and firearm possession. Judgment was given against him at Westminster Magistrates Court in November, 2016 following proceedings brought by the Office of the State Attorney of Austria (the Staatsanwaltschaft).
A former associate of Hofschröer has claimed that the alleged firearm offences may concern a de-commissioned AK47 assault rifle and several Napoleonic muskets.
Another close associate of Hofschröer’s, Andy Peacher, posted on social media that none of his other friends were aware of his whereabouts – and neither were the Metropolitan Police. Nor the solicitors instructed in the matter of his extradition. But, as with Ms McKenzie, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction in this vexed case. She is, also, currently subject to attention from the Metropolitan Police having been the subject of a warrant that enabled the force to sieze her computer.
Other Hofschröer ‘campaigners’, including Norman Scarth, exiled in Ireland to frustrate arrest warrants in force against him, claim he is not a paedophile at all – and that downloading indecent images does not count as child sex abuse. He ended a series of tirades over this article with “You expose yourself as a lying Quisling – and ignorant with it“.
Hofschröer was wearing an electronic tag on his ankle when he allegedly absconded. An alarm would have sounded at a monitoring station once his absence exceeded the terms of his licence. He had, previously, been recalled to HMP Preston in February, 2017 following a licence breach of the sentence received at Teesside Crown Court.
Despite a ban on use of social media (and email), as part of his bail conditions (and a civil injunction), Hofschröer made a posting on Facebook the night before he disappeared. Within that posting he claimed that police were among the suspects who may have hacked his ‘Justice for Grandma B’ website.
His Twitter account is still active but there have been no tweets since January, 2017. His Facebook campaigning page has been removed from the public area of the website.
No statement was been issued by North Yorkshire Police, despite Hofschröer’s strong connections to York: His 89 year old mother, Barbara (widely known as Grandma B) is in Haxby Hall care home, he was formerly a resident in Rosedale Avenue, Acomb – and other members of his family, against whom he bears considerable ill-will, still live in the city.
The Grandma B case was one that occupied North Yorkshire Police for a number of years: Hofschröer’s fight for justice for his mother was bitterly fought, both amongst his own family, the local council and the police. It is reported to have cost taxpayers well over £1 million and centred on a dispute over who owned the property occupied latterly by Barbara.
Two police operations were ultimately mounted against Peter Hofschröer: Operation Rome, a criminal investigation that was a notable failure to criminalise him over harassment allegations and Hyson, a civil claim in which Hofschröer elected to take no part, claiming his Article 6 convention rights were engaged. There was also a dramatic moment in court (I was present on the press bench) when he asked, via the prison to court video link, for the presiding judge to be arrested. HHJ Mark Gosnell successfully resisted the challenge to his liberty.
There was no report of Hofschröer’s alleged disappearance in the local, regional or national press. The extradition and appeal proceedings also went unreported.
Replies to press enquiries made of the Metropolitan Police and the Bundespolizei in Austria are still awaited.
Via his campaigning associate, Andy Peacher, a lengthy diatriabe was received from Peter Hofschröer on 25th July, 2018. Over a year after this article was first published. It purports to be a right of reply. He informs that he is currently held on an indeterminate sentence at Sigmund-Freud-Klinikum in Graz, Austria. This is a secure, psychiatric unit.
This is a precis of what Mr Hofschröer claims are ‘errors’ in the article:
- He is not a convicted paedophile. Teesside Crown Court is not a court of law in his view.
- The Austrian court in which he was convicted was also improperly constituted.
- His Article 6 convention rights were breached at both courts.
- There were serious police and/or prosecutorial defects in both courts.
- One psychologist has ‘demolished’ the report of another, who found that he suffered various mental illnesses and was a paedophile.
- Mr Hofschröer asserts, that according to this one professional opinion, he is perfectly sane and is not a paedophile.
- It is claimed that the eye-witness account by one of his own supporters, present for the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, is wrong. According to Mr Hofschröer there were no firearm offences, further sex abuse offences, and slander charges mentioned by the judge in that court.
- There was no valid reason to extradite Mr Hofschröer to Austria and sentence him to lifetime detention.
- The recall to HMP Preston was contrived.
- Mr Hofschröer’s ‘many supporters and various Human Rights organisations’ have, thus far, prevented ‘liquid cosh’ being administered to him.
- It is denied that Mr Hofschröer bears considerable ill-will towards certain of his family members.
- Mr Hofschröer asserts that there were over twenty separate ‘false’ allegations made against him. All were investigated by North Yorkshire Police and with the exception of one, all were ‘dropped due to lack of evidence’. He has, so far, declined the request to provide a schedule of those allegations.
- Mr Hofschröer asserts that he did not tell HHJ Gosnell that his Article 6 convention rights were engaged in the Operation Hyson proceedings and absented himself entirely from proceedings immediately thereafter (I was sat in the press seats immediately opposite the video screen upon which he appeared from HMP Hull).
- There are a series of other derogatory remarks made that thread through Mr Hofschröer’s document. It serves no useful purpose to engage the reader with those.
There will be no further engagement with Mr Hofschröer concerning his right of reply. With the notable exception of the list of allegations that has been requested.
Page last updated at 1835hrs on Tuesday 4th September, 2017
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