Former Newmarket man Kim Avis jailed for 15 years after faking his own death at Monastery Beach in Carmel, California
A former Suffolk man has been jailed for 15 years after he was found guilty of raping three women.
Kim Avis, 57, who was born in Newmarket, had been living in Scotland for a number of years and tried to evade justice by fleeing the country for the United States and then faking his own death after going for a swim at one of the California’s most dangerous beaches, Monastery Beach at Carmel.
He was eventually tracked down by US Marshals in Colorado Springs 1,300 miles from where he had been reported missing, and brought back to Scotland.
Californian police officer, Sgt David Murray, who first investigated Avis’s apparent drowning, said he had been suspicious from the start as Avis appeared to have taken all his personal belongings, including his passport, with him on the swim.
When he contacted one of Avis’ relatives in Scotland, he learned that the missing man was facing charges of sexual attacks against women and girls in the Highlands.
Over the next few months, Monterey sheriff’s deputies worked with US Marshals, Interpol, and the Scottish authorities to secure an arrest and extradition warrant for Avis.
They established that Avis had entered the US through Los Angeles International Airport, using a different name.
On Friday, he was found guilty of a total of 13 offences of rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and indecency at Edinburgh’s High Court.
He was further convicted of failing to appear for the previous trial. In total, Avis was found guilty of 14 charges from between 2006 and 2017. He had denied all the charges. He was sentenced to 12 years for the sex crimes and three years for failing to appear in court.
Judge Lord Sandison said Avis had been a well-known street trader in Inverness for many years, busking and selling jewellery from his market stall – and even receiving a good citizen award.
But the judge said there was another side to Avis, with a background report describing him as ‘a controlling and dominant personality’.
He said Avis had manipulated, managed and coerced his victims.
Fraser Gibson, of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said it had been a ‘difficult and complex’ investigation.
“Kim Avis went to great lengths to evade justice for his crimes. Thanks to the efforts of police and prosecutors, working together with US law enforcement, he has been brought to justice and sentenced.”