Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

On-the-run American held in UK

A former science teacher who jumped bail in the US nine years ago on attempted murder and kidnap charges has been arrested in Kent

A violent US national who jumped bail nine years ago on attempted murder and kidnap charges in his home country has been arrested in Kent.

Police detained Sean Lopes in New Road, Chatham, on Monday after an extradition warrant was issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The former science teacher, who was named as one of New York's most wanted criminals in 2006, has been on the run since he skipped bail in 2004 while facing accusations that he attacked his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend Amanda Hopkins, who was also a teacher and the niece of a US federal magistrate in Florida.

Lopes, 47, who has been living at an address in Victoria Road, Chatham, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in his absence in 2005.

A Kent Police spokesman explained that a member of the public raised concerns about Lopes and after an investigation by detectives, which included liaising with authorities in New York and the Metropolitan Police, he was tracked down and arrested.

Prosecutors in New York at the time said that Lopes became obsessed with Miss Hopkins and was furious that she dumped him after discovering he was 10 years older than he had claimed, was married and was the father of a young girl.

It was claimed Lopes sneaked into the Bronx teacher's Upper East Side apartment in New York on June 25, 2004, armed with a fake gun, a stun gun and a knife, and waited for her to come home. When she arrived Lopes attacked and choked her, and threatened to kill her and then commit suicide.

Police later stormed the apartment and found Lopes holding the knife to the maths teacher's throat, and he was arrested. He was later bailed and then fled.

Lopes appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday where he was remanded until May 14 when he will appear again.

Last year US authorities said they believed Guyanese-born Lopes was hiding in Trinidad and Tobago and they described him as a "violent fugitive". In 2008, Interpol in Guyana said Lopes, who is believed to have Guyanese and Dutch nationality, was wanted for alleged kidnapping and other crimes involving the use of weapons and explosives.

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