July 2011

Detective praises sex attack victims

ONE of the detectives who led the investigation into paedophile Stephen Allford has called his victims “tremendously brave” as Allford, 53, was jailed for 24 years at Exeter Crown Court 

Allford worked as a guest house manager and caretaker at the Exeter Chiefs’ former County Ground site, repeatedly targeting young girls over several decades.

He also lived in Crediton and Chagford.

He had been found guilty of 15 sexual offences by a jury at his trial which ended on Wednesday.

Allford was found guilty of four indecent assaults of an Exeter girl and two of another from the city, in separate incidents in the 1980s while he lived in St Thomas.

He lived in Crediton and Chagford when he targeted another girl and was found guilty of two rapes and five indecent assaults on this victim.

He was also convicted of two indecent assaults, which involved girls who had been together at a Chiefs rugby match in St Thomas in the 1990s.

DC Ian Stairs, who was closely involved in the case, said: “I am pleased to know that Allford is off the streets for a long time, but my real thoughts are with the victims and my hope that this can be the first stage for the process that will allow them to move on.

“Their ordeal has been unthinkable, but they have been tremendously brave and courageous to facethis so well as it was all dragged up again.

“They have been a real pillar and have stuck to their guns throughout it all.

“You could see the relief almost oozing out of them after the verdict and sentence. It is an emotional thing but throughout we have tried to be professional and do what was right.

“He was presumed innocent and the jury found their was sufficient evidence to convict him. I am very pleased that he is off the streets for a long time.”

Mr Stairs said that Allford appeared a quiet, subdued kind of man who seemed “quite normal”.

He added: “He is not what you might think of as a paedophile and he went undetected for too many years, but it is not always obvious due to the life they lead.

“He was a pretty nondescript kind of man, nothing out of the ordinary but now he has been recognised for what he is.”

Allford had no record for sexual offences although he had previous convictions for dishonesty.

Judge Wassall said he was imposing a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and requiring Allford to put his details on the Sexual Offender Register, both for life. The judge imposed a total of 15 years in prison for the various offences against the rape victim, five years for the four indecent assaults of an Exeter girl and three for two similar charges involving another youngster in the city in the 1980s. These were all to run consecutively, totalling 23 years.

He also imposed a year for each of the indecent assaults of the girls at the Chiefs match, to run concurrently with each other, but consecutively to the prison sentences imposed for the other victims, so the final prison sentence is 24 years.

Allford, now of Clodgley Lane, Helston, Cornwall, will be released on licence after serving half of his sentence.