September 2008

Ultimatum for paedophile, 66

A PAEDOPHILE pensioner whose victim had his child has been given an ultimatum by a judge after he failed to turn up for his sentencing, having fallen down stairs.

Judge David Ticehurst said of 66-year-old Derek Pratt: “This is an unfortunate coincidence of timing.

“He has 48 hours to produce a medical certificate detailing his condition and saying when he will be well enough to come to court.

“If there is no medical evidence provided to the prosecution and the court within those 48 hours, I will issue a warrant, not backed for bail, for his arrest.”

The judge delivered his ultimatum after Pratt’s counsel Kelly Scrivener had told Exeter Crown Court the defence had received a letter saying that her client had taken a tumble down stairs and had been rushed to hospital for treatment.

Pratt, of Sandringham Road, Newton Abbot, had earlier admitted two serious sexual offences involving the young girl.

She was abused over an eight-year period between 1987 and 1995, and bore Pratt’s child.

His guilty secret was exposed when “unanswerable” DNA evidence was forthcoming and Pratt pleaded guilty to two of the four charges on which he would have faced a trial.

At the previous hearing, prosecuting counsel Michael Melville-Shreeve said the pleas tendered by the defence were acceptable to the crown.

Pratt was then granted bail to give him time to put his affairs in order after Ms Scrivener said he accepted that he was facing a lengthy prison sentence.