A New Zealand man extradited to the UK to face charges of child sex offending has been sentenced after maintaining an extraordinary "vigil of silence" throughout his trial.
Cecil John Thorn has refused to speak at all since he was returned to the UK in February last year.
The 48-year-old was extradited from New Zealand to face three counts of sexual assault of a girl under 13, and three counts of causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
The charges were laid in 2016, the same year Thorn was released from prison in the UK and deported back to New Zealand to stay with whānau in Māngere, after serving three years of an eight-year sentence for similar offending.
The offending all took place in Wirral near Liverpool.
A family member of one of Thorn's victim says that he is "dangerous" and has expressed concerns about the risk he posed during his time in New Zealand.
Thorn appeared in Liverpool Crown Court via video link, where he again refused to speak.
The Liverpool Echo reported that Thorn, appearing with a bald head, long black beard and wearing a face mask, sat in silence with his eyes closed and refused to speak to offer any mitigation on his behalf.
Judge Brian Cummings told Thorn: "You have maintained what has been termed a vigil of silence."
At a previous hearing, the court found that his silence "was not the result of any medical or mental health incapacity, but rather was voluntary".
Thorn was jailed in July 2013 after admitting sexually assaulting a teenage girl, but served only three years under an early release scheme - despite police being aware of allegations from his second victim.
The Echo reported that Thorn was then deported to New Zealand, forcing police to launch a lengthy extradition process.
The court heard that Thorn's silence began when he was questioned by New Zealand police in February 2020.
Cummings said his "parting words" to a detective "were to the effect that you were now embarking on a vigil of silence".
A family member of one of Thorn's victims told the Herald he shifted to the UK around 2000 for work and had breached her family's trust and caused devastation across the family as a result of the "ripple effect" of his offending.
She said he was well-regarded in the community before his offending, seen as a hard worker and popular with his colleagues.
She told the Herald that he had tried to contact one of his victims during his time in New Zealand, with some of the "bizarre" messages containing sexual themes.
She was concerned that his time in Auckland was spent with whānau who, she said, were "protecting" him in a bid to give him a fresh start.
She said that it was "worrying" that he might have access to children in that environment.
Speaking about his time in the UK, the family member said: "He would give the children a lot of attention and I know now why that was.
"He was perceived as fun and would interact with the little ones, kind of overly so to be honest.
"He liked being around children."
She wanted people in New Zealand to know that "he is dangerous, he is a risk" and said his "ignorant and arrogant" silence had prolonged her family's ordeal.
In sentencing, Cummings said that Thorn was an "offender of particular concern" and told him: "You have blighted the lives of two young girls. The consequences for you must inevitably be severe."
Thorn was jailed for 10 years, and will not be eligible for parole for another five years.
Thorn reportedly showed no emotion as the sentence was delivered.