Data guru at centre of child sex claims tracked to Belgium
International privacy guru and alleged paedophile and fugitive Simon Davies is believed to be hiding out in a bolthole in Belgium where he went to seek medical treatment.
As revealed exclusively by News Corp Australia, detectives from NSW Police Strike Force Boyd issued a global arrest warrant for the British-born Davies, alleging he abused boys in a refuge he helped establish in inner Sydney in the 1980s.
That Homeless Children's Association shelter is now suspected as having been used as a source for businessmen to procure runaway boys and girls for abuse, with police having drawn up a long list of other suspects.
Davies' warrant lists 18 charges against just four boys between 1981 and 1987 but it is believed he may have continued to abuse right until he left Australia for the UK in December 1993.
Sources close to Boyd told News Corp Australia Davies fled his central London home after becoming aware the Australian Federal Police and British counterparts had drawn up an arrest warrant and extradition order.
He was tracked to Belgium where he had apparently received cancer treatment.
It has been noted that Belgium has a statute of limitations on sex offences and an extradition may prove difficult.
That said officers in the UK are keen to pursue him and his associates in England understood to be protecting him.
It has been confirmed police in London were contacted by a witness as far back as 1999 after BBC TV featured the Australian resident and former Fairfax journalist as a global cyber tech and privacy expert; the claims he was a paedophile were not followed up.
Davies, who migrated to Australia in 1962, used numerous aliases and was born Simon Gordon Dewis but on January 28, 1986 formally changed his surname to Davies.
Immigration records show he returned to England in December 1993 and has never come back to Australia and has since become one of the world's leading data privacy figures, named in the world's top 50 most influential data tech experts.
The police sex squad's Strike Force Boyd Detective Chief Inspector Michael Haddow declined to speak about specifics of the case but said the now 63-year-old Davies had had a very long and public life internationally but the allegations never dated.
"As has been said many times before it doesn't matter a person's perpetrator was yesterday or 50 years ago, there's no statute of limitations on sexual assault and it's very much in our interest to bring him before the courts," he said.
"We'll do everything we can to see this guy is brought back to justice."
Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec could not say why it had taken so long between when the 2016 warrant for arrest and police in the UK to progress the case.
He said extensive inquiries were being made to locate Davies now.
VOLUNTEER RAISED ALARM OVER DAVIES
Suspicions Simon Davies and a raft of other men including an executive of a retail giant were allegedly using a Sydney children's shelter to procure boys for sex were raised but not followed up with police, it can be revealed.
Davies was the CEO of the Homeless Children's Association refuge between 1981 and 1983 when he was suddenly sacked and the shelter property, owned by St Vincent's Hospital, shut down.
Rod Blackmore, the former head of the NSW Children's Court and OAM recipient for services to children's welfare was on the board which ran the charity and has confirmed he had provided a statement to Strike Force Boyd detectives pursuing Davies' for alleged child sex crimes.
Mr Blackmore said he had been advised in the 1980s that suspicions about Davies had been raised in writing but could not be proved before Davies just disappeared.
"Internally in the Association we became aware that he was allegedly a paedophile or had a liking for young boys as someone put it and they thought I should know about it because it would do no good for my reputation, so we had him spoken to and closed the refuge," Mr Blackmore said.
Davis was spoken to by Sandy Pearson, the distinguished and highly decorated former Army major general who ran Australia's military campaign in the Vietnam War before becoming head of Army Personnel.
"The word was if he (Davies) ever came back here he would be arrested and I've given statements to police some years ago during their investigation," Mr Blackmore said.
He said there was a lack of proof but in hindsight a few things that could have been pursued further.
The man who first raised suspicions was a then 22-year-old volunteer from South Africa who just migrated to Australia, Colin James.
Mr James said in the 1980s he had heard an extensive interview on the ABC praising Davies' charity work so decided to offer his help.
He said what he found at the refuge disturbed him greatly and he left but not before putting his suspicions in writing for the board, based on a lack of duty of care, boys being drugged and drunk and walking into the refuge early on three occasions and seeing boys coming out of Davies' room looking "shattered".
Davies also allegedly supported the boys to work on The Wall, a notorious Darlinghurst Park for male prostitution.
"These were marginalised kids and I assumed there was some professionalism around the whole thing then I'd see these businessmen coming through and one guy in particular (redacted) I remember was like a panting dog when he was there, sweating and I thought, 'What the f--- is happening here?'" Mr James recalled. "The whole place was wrong."
Davies was told by the Association of the letter which prompted him to call Mr James and warn he would be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life if he ever spoke about his claims again.
Mr James said Davies would also brag about how he could get anything he said published and to prove it wrote a fake news story that the street boys came from Sydney's affluent Northern Beaches and northern suburbs which was then published on Page 1 of the Sydney Morning Herald.
He described Davies as a master manipulator who had several aliases in letters he would receive and personal backstories he would put about as subterfuge.
"This is what he did, he was a master manipulator, stereotype of people of that nature," Mr James said.