September 2017: Chatfield has now been released and is living in Waterlooville in Hampshire

March 2012

Electronics firm boss sentenced to 10 years for sex crimes

A disgraced former business leader is behind bars after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for a catalogue of horrifying sex crimes.

Alan Chatfield, head of Southampton’s Federation of Small Businesses until last year, is behind bars after jurors unanimously convicted him of nine charges, including gross indecency with a child, rape and sexual assaults.

Ruling that the 56-year-old must stay on the sex offenders’ register for life and be banned from working with children indefinitely, a judge told him his offences were “disgusting”.

For nearly 30 years, Chatfield believed he had escaped justice, until police came knocking at his door late in 2010.

As previously reported, jurors at Canterbury Crown Court last month rejected his denials over the historic offences, following an investigation by police in Kent, where he grew up in Grantham.

He was found guilty of three counts of rape, three of gross indecency with a child, two of indecent assault on a female, and one of a serious sexual assault.

The judge directed jurors to acquit Chatfield, of Furzedown Road, King’s Somborne, of a further charge of indecent assault on a female, while the Crown Prosecution Service dropped allegations surrounding child pornography offences.

The co-founder of CF Electronics, atLockerley, his career was mostly in electronics, including roles with former ITV firm, TVS, Christchurch-based military communications company, Plessey, Wessex Electronics and Blake Electronics, in Southampton.

When Blake went into voluntary liquidation, he founded CF Electronics, with another former employee, building parts for other manufacturers from its Lockerley base.

A major figure in the Hampshire business community, Chatfield was reelected as chairman of the Southampton branch of the FSB three years ago and was a key player in the Wessex-wide organisation as spokesman on transport and environmental issues.

He has also represented the Southampton federation on several partnership bodies, including Graduate Job South, Hampshire Strategic Partnership and Hampshire West Young Enterprise, which works with children as young as four to engage them in the world of business.

Chatfield also served on task groups of several local authorities, including Eastleigh, Test Valley and Southampton, and the board of Young Enterprise in Southampton.

After Chatfield was charged, the FSB initially insisted it would not suspend him, but last year he was replaced as chairman of the Southampton branch by David Webb.