FRIENDS of Britain’s most wanted peadophile have joined together in shock after learning the shocking truth about the man they knew and loved.
For almost two decades, child sex abuser Warwick Spinks, 48, was living a secret life in the Czech Republic, where he told everyone he was a Dutch businessman. He built trusting relationships with the locals in the heart of Prague, where he ran his own apartment rental company, and enjoyed lavish parties where she showered his trusting friends with champagne.
To them he was a quirky and fun-loving man who went by the name Willem van Wijk, and although he carried a thick cockney accent, he managed to fool everyone into thinking it was due to a UK-based education.
Spinks raised some eyebrows for his tendency to spend time with young men. This earned him the nickname of the“dirty old man” among the locals. However, nobody foresaw the reality of what he was truly hiding.
Runaway Spinks, who was living in Vinohrady, Prague, was tracked down and arrested last week. He was flown back to his British homeland where he was forced to face charges of sexual assault at knife point, taking a child without lawful authority and taking indecent images of children. He had been on the run for 16 years.
“It turns out everything we knew about him was a lie,” said a fellow British expat known as Luke, 29. “His life was a lie. He was trusted and respected around here. Yes, he was a party animal, the life and soul of the party really, but no-one could have foreseen this.”
Luke, who has known Spinks for 4 years, added: “I’m absolutely sick to the stomach. We all are. He was here for 16 years and managed to live a fake life, make friends with people who trusted him. I’m appalled that I was ever in the same room.”
Confusion had spread when “Willem” suddenly went missing after Prague Gay Pride festival in August. His friends called, emailed and tried to reach him through Facebook. But they couldn’t get hold of him.
Eventually the news started trickling in. For Luke, the big blow came as he was enjoying an after-work drink with colleagues and he received on his smart phone a link to a BBC story detailing the arrest. He sat in silence for a few minutes before his eyes filled with tears and he excused himself to go to the bathroom to “throw up,” as he put it.
“I considered this man as one of my closest friends.” he said. “We had dinners together, partied together. It makes me want to throw up that I was ever in the same room as him. I trusted him and the betrayal I feel is indescribable. … I feel like I need to spend a long time in the shower to wash off this feeling.”
Another friend who goes by the name of Brukker said some doubted Spinks’ Dutch nationality.
“He claimed to be Dutch, and appeared to speak it very well. Everyone accepted it,” Brukker said. “But his English seemed too good, he spoke affluently, and his English friends said he had a very typical English accent. He always told us how he was schooled in the UK. It all makes more sense now”.
The feeling of betrayal was further intensified by knowing that Spinks, during his 16 years in Prague, was an outspoken advocate of a variety of gay causes, which earned him respect and made him a man to go to in times of trouble.
In 2001, Spinks went as far as to write an indignant letter to The Prague Post, a local English-language weekly, calling himself “shocked and disgusted” by police raids carried out against local gay bars at the time.
“If this is the way the Czech Republic violates basic human rights, it should never even be considered for inclusion into the EU or given membership among civilized countries that observe fundamental human rights,” he wrote.
Spinks was first arrested in 1995 at Lewes Crown Court for numerous sexual offences against boys. He was sentenced to seven years, reduced to five years on appeal.
He first went on the run in 1997, when he was released on licence. At about the same time he appeared in Prague under a new identity.
He set up a travel company called Toucan Travel, which rented apartments to gay tourists and expats. He took frequent, exotic holidays in Thailand, Ibiza and Amsterdam, and then to bragged to friends about his sexual encounters with young men.
It was said that Spinks was the man to go to for viagra, which it is alleged he sold for 5 euros.
Despite living the life of a fugitive, Spinks had a public Facebook profile, under his false name, but showed photos of him and his friends, gave personal information and displayed his sexual preferences.
He was clearly a man of means yet he dressed casually in jeans and shirts. The only time he flaunted his wealth was during the lavish birthday parties on a boat, where expensive champagne flowed and hundreds of people attended.
He is now back behind bars where he will serve the remaining 18 months of his sentence.