AN accused paedophile looks likely to avoid the justice system - because it took 32 years to find him living just yards from a Crown court.
Roger Hawkins, 52, failed to turn up in 1974 when he was accused of seven sex crimes against teenage boys. He was finally found a few weeks ago living just a few hundred yards from the court steps.
Yesterday a judge heard Hawkins may never face trial because police were struggling to find witnesses against him.
Prosecutor Howard Hughes said, "This is a case of some antiquity. We are now faced with some problems. The most important aspect is the attendance of witnesses and we need more time to see if police can track down those witnesses."
Hawkins, a debt collector, was 20 when he was accused of gross indecency, indecent assault and other sex offences on four boys aged between 15 and 17.
He was also accused of possessing indecent articles.
A court heard he denied the offences but failed to attend a pre-trial hearing. A warrant was issued for his arrest - but he was not found.
Hawkins "assumed the case had been forgotten", but more than three decades later, police knocked on his door and arrested him at his home just 200 yards from the steps of Swansea Crown Court.
Yesterday he appeared at Cardiff Crown Court.
Judge Christopher Llewellyn- Jones told him the case was being put off to give the prosecution time to make a decision on tracking down witnesses.
The court heard some of charges would not be prosecuted because of changes in the law.
Hawkins was bailed to his home address in Swansea.
Hawkins only spoke to plead not guilty.
But earlier he said, "I have never hidden from them. I never heard any more and thought the whole matter had been dropped. I've only been living round the corner."
Police are carrying out an internal investigation into how the warrant resurfaced.