In England & Wales, the former Labour peer Lord Ahmed was recently jailed for sexual offences he was convicted of dating from the early 1970s. This 50+ year gap seems quite long, although obviously for serious sexual offences there is no limitation on prosecution.

What is the longest known time between the commission of an offence and the conviction of the perpetrator in England & Wales ? Is Lord Ahmed's the longest?

1 Answer 1


At least 56 years

Anthony Sawoniuk was convicted in 1999 of 2 murders committed while he was a member of the SS. I cannot find the exact date of the offenses but they were before he deserted in November 1944.

There may be longer ones but on seeing your question, Nazi war crimes popped into my head as something easy to check. If the actual answer is some obscure crime from the 19th century, I don’t know how you’d find it.

  • 1
    Per this article, the murders he was convicted of were committed in 1942, though again it doesn't give an exact date.
    – Ryan M
    Mar 9, 2022 at 4:51
  • 1
    Germany tops that: In late 2021, a secretary was charged with assisting 11000 murders, all happening before 2045 - and as a result, happened more than 76 years ago. Incidently, because she was 18 in 1945, the trial happens in front of the youth court. And since 2011 / 2016, it is deemed sufficient to have been present in a concentration camp and to have known that the killings happened to have assisted in the murder. It isn't ex-post-facto law, just the interpretation where the line is changed.
    – Trish
    Mar 9, 2022 at 9:16
  • @Trish Do you mean 1945, rather than 2045? Mar 9, 2022 at 11:48
  • yes, autocorrect messed that up
    – Trish
    Mar 9, 2022 at 12:25
  • What a disgusting vindictive contrivance to miscarry the interests of justice. Jul 8, 2022 at 7:36

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