Police hunt accused sex offender released from prison by mistake

27 March 2021, 22:33 | Updated: 27 March 2021, 22:49

William Fernandez at East Acton station
William Fernandez at East Acton station. Picture: Met Police

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Detectives are hunting for a man accused of sexual assault who was released from a west London prison by mistake.

William Fernandez, 24, was being held on remand at HMP Wormwood Scrubs.

He was awaiting trial accused of sexual assault by touching, indecent exposure and possession of a class B drug, having been arrested and charged in April 2020, the Metropolitan Police said.

Staff at the prison informed the force on Wednesday night that Fernandez had been released from custody that evening in error.

Fernandez was released by mistake on Wednesday evening
Fernandez was released by mistake on Wednesday evening. Picture: Met Police

It is believed Fernandez travelled by London Underground from East Acton station.

At around 9.30pm, he was spotted on CCTV walking along Wealdstone High Street, Harrow, in north-west London.

There have been no confirmed sightings of him since, police said.

Detective Inspector Rory Wilkinson, who is leading the search, said: “Officers are exploring every possible line of enquiry to track Fernandez down and return him to prison.

“We would ask the public to assist us by being our eyes and ears and calling us if they see him or have any information about his whereabouts.”

Fernandez is white, of medium build, with thinning hair and a dark beard. He has a distinctive cross tattoo on the left hand side of his neck. When last seen, he was wearing a black tracksuit and black hat.

He is also known to use the name Agustin Fernando Jimenez Eiberte.

Officers believe he is most likely in the west London area but he has been known to travel on public transport and to spend time at transport hubs.

If you see Fernandez or know where he is, do not approach him. Call 999 immediately providing the reference 7873/24MAR.