November 2008

Child molester must serve his four-year term

A ROCK singer from Mid Devon has failed in his appeal against a jail sentence for molesting a 14-year-old girl.

Richard Ayling’s appeal was dismissed by a panel of judges at the Royal Courts of Justice last Friday.

Ayling, 55, of Millway, Bradninch, was jailed for four years in March at Exeter Crown Court.

A spokeswoman for the Criminal Appeal Office at the Royal Courts of Justice said the application had been heard by the panel and been dismissed.

The spokeswoman could give no more information on the decision at this stage.

Judge Jeremy Griggs told Ayling when sentencing him that he would be failing in his public duty if he did not send him to prison.

The defendant, a singer in the band Richard Love and the Blood, had initially pleaded not guilty to rape and another sexual offence. But he admitted an alternative charge, of sexual activity with a child, on the day his trial was due to begin in January.

Ayling was jailed, given a Sex Offences Prevention Order, ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register and banned from working with children until further notice.

The offence happened in 2005. Ayling knew the girl and offered her a lift in his sports car, but instead of taking her home, he took her into secluded woodland and committed a sex offence.

Exeter Crown Court heard he tried to keep her quiet by telling her not to be a “robot” by listening to society’s rules.

His defence counsel said Ayling had no previous convictions for sex offences and had no record for any other type of crime in the last 12 years. He had cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis C and his life expectancy was poor.

Judge Griggs formally gave not guilty verdicts for the rape and sexual offence, which Ayling had denied.

After the jail sentence the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that she was still angry about the crime but now wanted to move on.

Police have kept the victim informed about the appeal but were unavailable for comment about the decision.