AN ACCRINGTON man was back home this week after spending 139 days of hell in a Thai jail.
Convicted sex offender Alan Smith, 54, was arrested as he worked as a teaching assistant at a school 25 miles from the capital Bangkok and thrown into an Immigrant Detention Centre.
He was confined to a 150 foot by 50 foot room which housed 78 people but had toilet facilities for only four along with a communal wash tub.
He said: "It was stiflingly hot during the day and freezing at night. We were fed a diet of rice, cabbage water and cucumber water with vegetables and bread once a week. And I went six weeks without any exercise."
Mr Smith, who lost five stone during his ordeal, said he had converted to Buddhism and was then allowed to go to a prison chapel for half an hour every day.
He was finally allowed to fly back to the UK after an "acquaintance" found his air fare, leaving his Thai bride Pach, 26, behind.
But as soon as he arrived on Accrington bus station he was greeted with taunts of "pervert", "sicko" and "weirdo" from a gang of yobs, and now faces an uncertain future.
Mr Smith, who lived in Carter Street, appeared in court in August 2005 when he admitted sexual activity with a girl under 16.
The court heard that he prodded a 14-year-old girl’s bottom with a pool cue and later gave her a "wedgie" by pulling up the top of her knickers.
He was sentenced to six months in jail but was released immediately because of the time he had already spent in custody on remand. Five other charges against him were dropped.
He said: "There was no sexual intent at all. I’m a touchy-feely person and it was just a stupid joke which has cost me my life. I have apologised to the girl and her parents and I apologise again.
"I am not asking for pity or for people to feel sorry for me. I just want a fair chance.
"The child sex offender tag upsets me. I am not a pervert. It was just a very stupid thing to do."
Although Mr Smith was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register, that did not prevent him travelling to Thailand.
He blames a national newspaper for giving incorrect information about him to the Thai authorities, which resulted in them revoking his visa in January this year.
He said: "The authorities came and took my visa on 3 January and on 4 January I was arrested for not having one."
While in prison, Pach visited him as often as she could and he is desperate to get back to her.
He said: "I just want to provide for my wife. When I was working at the school she gave up her job and when we are together again I plan to support her.
"She is heartbroken but she is standing by me. The age difference doesn’t matter and I don’t care what anyone says."
Pach is currently working as a pool bar attendant in a role similar to the one she had when she met Mr Smith.
He said: "She was not a go-go dancer as has been suggested. She served drinks to customers. I paid her manager £150 for three months of her company. During that time we went scuba diving and rode elephants."
The couple married in February 2007, though Pach later had a miscarriage.
Mr Smith said that although he was deported, he is not permanently banned from Thailand.
But his plan is to take Pach to live somewhere like Malaysia or Singapore.
He said: "There is certainly nothing for me here. I have a few friends but if I stayed with them they would just get slagged off for harbouring a paedophile."
However, he claims his new Buddhist faith has given him some peace with his situation.
Alan said: "I meditate 30 minutes a day. I won’t fight with anyone. I don’t believe in that."
Mr Smith was well-known in Accrington as a former DJ in bars like the Hope and Anchor and Funnies and as Accrington Stanley’s mascot Stan the Monkey.
He said he was still a loyal fan of the club and had converted several inmates in the Bangkok detention centre.
He added: "There are now four Stanley pennants in the jail. Most of them support Manchester United but a few are now cheering on Stanley."