‘Swirl face’ pedophile Neil released

Christopher Neil’s freedom curtailed 18 months by a peace bond that prohibits him from having contact with anyone under the age of 16.

A convicted pedophile from Maple Ridge who was the subject of an international manhunt was set free on Wednesday under a set of strict conditions.

Christopher Paul Neil’s freedom will be curtailed for 18 months by a peace bond that prohibits him from having contact with anyone under the age of 16.

“He is planning to go back to work and do his own thing,” said lawyer Marc Thompson, who represented Neil during a short appearance in Richmond Provincial Court.

“It’s been reported that his family doesn’t want anything to do with him. They certainly haven’t come forward to offer any assistance.”

A former teacher, Neil spent the past five years in a Thai prison for molesting two young boys.

The 37-year-old was arrested by RCMP at Vancouver airport under a rarely used section of the Criminal Code that’s designed to protect the public before a criminal offence is committed.

Instead of facing a trial, Neil consented to the peace bond, which expires in April 2014, unless Crown renews it.

“If there are no incidents in the next 18 months, then it will be harder for the Crown to renew it. I don’t expect Mr. Neil will consent to one the next time,” said Thompson.

Neil is not facing any criminal charges in Canada, but his information has been added to the national sex offender registry.

Other conditions imposed on Neil include surrendering his passport, no access the Internet via a computer or phone and staying away from parks, playgrounds and schools.

Neil must also report to a probation officer and seek psychiatric help.

Neil grew up in Maple Ridge, but has no fixed address at the moment. His family still lives in the community.

Neil was the subject of an international manhunt in 2007 after Interpol unscrambled digitally swirled images of him allegedly engaging in sexual acts with young boys from Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, ranging in age from six to 16.

Interpol received more than 300 tips from the public in response to the world-wide appeal.

Dubbed “swirl face,” Neil fled from South Korea, where he was teaching English, to Thailand.

Cambodian police have a warrant out for Neil’s arrest connected to allegations of abuse in that country.

Neil attended the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission from 1995 to 1999 and received a B.C. independent teaching certificate in 2000.

He also volunteered at St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Maple Ridge in 2000 and 2001 and was a substitute teacher at Arch Bishop Carney in Port Coquitlam for five days in April and May of 2007.