A strictly Orthodox community is running a fundraising campaign for a convicted child molester who avoided jail by hiding in London for two years.
Nachman Stal lived secretly among the Charedi community in Stamford Hill, north London, having fled Israel in 2006 after being found guilty of sodomy and indecent assault of a minor.
The father-of-nine lost an extradition hearing in June and is now serving his sentence in an Israeli prison.
Members of the Stamford Hill community are appealing for money to support his wife and children, who have also returned to Israel.
A fundraising committee spokesman, who asked not to be named, said: “We are trying to raise a large amount both for legal fees and also to support the family. We are doing what we can to help.
“They were here in London and we tried to help them, they were a nice family.
“There’s lots going on, we have a committee of volunteers. There was a function, a reception, that was endorsed by all the local rabbonim.”
Stal was convicted in 2006 of raping a boy under 16 in Tel Aviv between April and May 1998 and also of indecently assaulting a boy under 16 in the city between December 1998 and February 1999. He fled before he could be sentenced.
The incidents took place in his car.
The 39-year-old was first indicted in 2000 but failed to appear for his trial and was thought to have escaped to Britain.
The charges were renewed in 2004 when he returned to Israel but he managed to flee again after the trial using a fake passport.
Asked about Stal’s conviction, the committee spokesman said: “I won’t go into the case, I am purely a link to his family. But the incident was over 10 years ago. People knew him very well while he was here and nobody could say he is a danger to the public. It was one incident.”
Stal was only recaptured by chance in May 2008 when police stopped to help him change a punctured tyre on the A40 in west London. He was arrested after a routine check of police records revealed his fugitive status.
In June he appealed against his extradition, telling the High Court he feared he would not be safe in Israel because of a potential nuclear attack by Iran.
He told judges he feared being hurt if his Israeli jail was hit in a rocket attack and claimed that in the absence of segregation for sex offenders he would be tortured by fellow inmates.