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Stepfather of ex-soccer star accused of abducting Thai girls

THE stepfather of a former Irish International soccer player has been arrested in the Thai resort of Pattaya accused of abducting young girls.

Maurice Praill (77), the stepfather of Jon Goodman - who was capped four times for Ireland and who now works as a sports scientist with Reading Football Club - was arrested along with three other men by members of the Thai police force's Crimes against Women and Children Suppression division.

Seized

Praill, from Harold Hill, Essex, who was sentenced to 14 years in jail in 2001 for offences against Thai street girls, was seized at his apartment in Pattaya.

Another Englishman named as Stephen James Ellison (55), an American, Glen Allen (60) and a Finn, Ilkka Ylikojola (63), were seized at nearby addresses. No further details of these men were immediately available.

Police also seized video and still cameras and a DVD showing Asian children being abused.

Although Praill has been arrested four times previously in Pattaya, he has escaped jail each time. He was jailed by the Pattaya Court for 14 years in late 2001 on several charges, which included two of child rape. Two weeks later he was granted bail and given leave to appeal after paying the equivalent in Thai baht of several thousand euro.

When he lost that appeal three years later he still kept his liberty. Using a lawyer well-known for representing child sex offenders in Pattaya, he appealed to the Supreme Court, who have yet to make a decision. He remained out on bail on the equivalent of ?15,000.

Praill first came to the attention of the Thai police in the 1990s when his stepson was making a name for himself as a rising soccer star in Britain. Jon Goodman, who was dubbed 'Elvis' because of his likeness to the singer, played first with Millwall and then with Wimbledon FC. He could not be contacted last night for comment.

Record

Welfare agencies in Thailand believe Praill had a record of making payments to impoverished Thai families, either for their daughters, or to stop them from testifying against him.

Police are reported to be seeking a 20-year sentence for him on the latest offences.

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Praill and the others are charged in connection with offences relating to two girls aged 9 to 11. A Thai woman was also being held last night


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