OAP who spent Xmas with Sainsbury's cashier accused of sex offences in Australia

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Edwin Holmes enjoyed a turkey dinner with a Sainsbury
Edwin Holmes enjoyed a turkey dinner with a Sainsbury's cashier (Image: Sainsbury's)

A pensioner who made headlines after being invited to Christmas dinner by a kind-hearted Sainsbury’s cashier is accused of child sex offences.

Edwin Holmes, 92, is wanted in Australia over alleged sex attacks on a girl under the age of 13 between 2008 and 2014.

The retired painter and decorator from Leeds is one of the oldest Brits to face extradition, which he is currently appealing against.

In 2017, a female cashier at Holmes’ local Sainsbury’s supermarket invited him to share a festive meal.

The caring 22-year-old felt sorry for the widower after hearing he would be spending Christmas alone. Holmes turned up in a suit and tie, gave the woman flowers and enjoyed a roast dinner with her in the store’s cafe.

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At the time, Sainsbury’s publicised the warm gesture.

OAP who spent Xmas with Sainsbury's cashier accused of sex offences in AustraliaHolmes has a festive meal with a cashier in 2017 (Sainsbury's)

But in 2020, Holmes was arrested after an international warrant was issued ­over allegations by a schoolgirl in Australia.

A district judge at London’s Westminster magistrates’ court ruled in favour of extradition and then-Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the decision.

Holmes, who faces a maximum of 10 years in jail in Australia if convicted, has now appealed to the High Court.

During his extradition hearing in December 2021, his lawyers argued he has health problems and it would be oppressive to extradite him because of his age. At the hearing, he was assisted by a carer and given breaks to use the disabled toilets.

Lawyers and witnesses were asked to speak up so the hard-of-hearing OAP could follow proceedings.

A previous hearing had to be abandoned after a lift broke down and Holmes, who sometimes uses a wheelchair, was unable to climb the stairs to the first-floor courtroom.

But the court was told that Holmes lived independently on his own, was still driving and was in generally good health for his age. One expert claimed he could be eligible for 24-hour nursing care in prison in Australia once his needs have been assessed.

District Judge Nicholas Rimmer ruled: “I have concluded that the factors against extradition are outweighed by those in favour.” Holmes’ appeal will be heard in March.

Westminster magistrates last month renewed his £7,000 bail but ruled his passport be kept by police. Holmes’ lawers did not respond to a request for comment. Sainsbury’s was also asked to comment.

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