How a puncture on the A40 caught a rapist on the run

A convicted rapist who fled Israel before he could be jailed for a sex attack on an underage boy was caught last week when police stopped to help him change a wheel on a busy road.

Nachman Stal, 37, is understood to have been living in secret among the Charedi community of Stamford Hill, North London, since skipping the country two years ago.

But he was recaptured last Wednesday when his car had a puncture on the Westway stretch of the A40 in Ladbroke Grove, West London.

Mr Stal, rumoured to be working as a driver in the London area and using a false passport, had pulled over to change the tyre when police in a passing patrol car stopped to help. He was arrested on a provisional extradition warrant after a routine check of police records revealed the driver to be the fugitive Stal.

On Wednesday he appeared at Westminster extradition court via video-link from Wandsworth Prison, where he is being held in custody.

Stal, a Ger Chasid, was convicted of raping a boy under the age of 16 in Tel Aviv between April and May 1998 and indecently assaulting a boy under the age of 16 in Tel Aviv between December 1998 and February 1999.

The incidents allegedly took place in his car. He was convicted in 2006 but fled the jurisdiction — not the first time he had gone missing.

Stal, who used to live in Kiryat Sefer, east of Tel Aviv, was first indicted in 2000 but did not turn up for the trial hearing, and the indictment was
cancelled.

It was thought he had fled to Britain. The charges were renewed in September 2004 when he returned to Israel. He was convicted in 2006 but managed to escape for a second time, fleeing the jurisdiction, even though police were holding his passport.

A new remand hearing, again via video-link, will take place on June 25 at Westminster extradition court.

A spokesperson from the Israeli Embassy said: “The Israeli Embassy only knows about such cases when the Israeli citizen involved chooses to notify us and in this case he hasn’t.’”

Stamford Hill’s Rabbi Avraham Pinter said he was not aware of Stal or that he had been hiding in London.

A Charedi man was due to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court today (Friday) accused of raping a 12-year-old boy in a London synagogue toilet.

Moshe Reichman, 24, was charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The rape is alleged to have taken place at the Vinstz Synagogue in Stamford Hill, home to Europe’s largest Charedi population.

    Last updated: 9:26am, June 5 2008