Alleged sex attack fugitive arrested in Plymouth after Crimewatch appeal
A FUGITIVE sex offender was caught in Plymouth after he was recognised on an episode of Crimewatch by a member of the public.
Lee Whitting was at the centre of a nationwide hunt following an alleged sex assault on a 64-year-old woman on a canal path.
Whitting, who was deported to the UK from New Zealand in 2010, had also allegedly failed to keep authorities informed of his whereabouts.
Avon and Somerset Police said he was arrested in Plymouth, after a tip-off from a member of the public who remembered his face from BBC One's Crimewatch.
A spokesman said: "Police officers searching for a missing registered sex offender in Somerset have located and arrested him.
"Lee Ronald Whitting was arrested in Plymouth on Friday as a result of a lengthy and ongoing investigation to find him.
"As well as breaching the conditions of his sexual offences prevention order, officers wanted to speak with him in connection with a serious assault on a 64-year-old woman that took place on July 28, 2012.
"As part of the investigation an appeal was issued in November of last year on the BBC One programme Crimewatch. As a result a member of the public recognised Whitting and called the police."
Whitting appeared at Taunton Deane Magistrates' Court on Saturday charged with a string of offences including kidnap, kidnap with intent to commit a relevant sexual offence, breaching a sexual offender's notification order and theft from a caravan.
He was remanded in custody.