December 2009

Woman labelled ‘predatory paedophile’ for abusing young girls in toilets is jailed indefinitely

A former tutor labelled a ‘predatory paedophile’ by detectives has been handed a indeterminate prison sentence after she admitted sexually abusing young children.

Carol Clarke, 46, assaulted children she followed into toilets in Grimsby and other parts of Lincolnshire, she told detectives.

Grimsby Crown Court heard she was sexually aroused by watching young children urinate and from seeing them looking distressed when they needed to go to the toilet.

Sentencing Clarke, Judge David Tremberg yesterday told her she would have to serve a minimum of four year in prison.

Judge Tremberg told Clarke, of Cromwell Road, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, she would only be released from prison once parole board members were satisfied she no longer posed a risk to young children or the public.

He told Clarke, who sat motionless while being sentenced: ‘This is a sad and deeply troubling case.

‘From the time you were a very young woman you have had and maintained a very worrying sexual preference, in particular young girls when they are urinating and when they are distressed.’

He told Clarke, who won a place at Cambridge University after she had completed her sixth form exams, she was ‘clearly an intelligent woman’ and could have endeavoured not to indulge her interest in children.

Clarke is understood to have worked as a part-time college tutor for adult students between 2003 and 2007 but did not teach children.

She was convicted of six of the 12 charges brought against her and the remaining six were ordered to remain on file by the judge.

She was convicted of indecent assaults on children before 1992 and sexual assault on girls under 13 in 2008. Clark was also convicted of being a public nuisance.

Detective Sergeant Stewart Watson of Humberside Police said: ‘Predatory paedophiles such as Carol Clarke are rare.

‘Experts agree that women commit only a fraction of child sexual abuse but as little is known about female offenders, it is difficult to be accurate.

‘There are claims that between 5 percent and 10 percent of abuse against prepubescent children in the UK is committed by females. However, only about 5 percent is thought to involve a woman acting alone.

‘There are still those members of the general public and even some experts who still ignore women’s capacity for sexual abuse.

‘Thankfully, education is challenging these beliefs.’

Detective Superintendent Phil Walker of North East Lincolnshire Police said he was delighted with Clarke’s conviction and said that her offences – which ranged from assaulting children in toilets in Grimsby town centre to targeting them at a caravan park in Woodhall Spa, North East Lincolnshire.

He also said Clarke’s case was extremely unusual because she was a woman and that it was brought to the attention of police through contact with partner agencies.

He added: ‘Usually you would expect a victim to come forward and say ‘this has happened to me’, but in the way Carol Clarke offended she was a very intelligent woman, she’d been to university, she started at Cambridge, she was head girl at her school and she befriended adults to gain access to children.

‘She would engender a situation where the child would wet itself or defecate itself and make out she was doing them a favour by changing them and helping them get changed and she was clearly using that as an opportunity to touch in a sexual way these children and thereafter get her own sexual gratification.’

Mr Walker also said the public needed to be aware that women may also pose a danger to children.

He said: ‘It seems to be in the human psyche at the moment. If you see a man in a mac hanging about outside a toilet he may well be a paedophile, we don’t have the same assumption if we see a female, we automatically think it’s someone who’s waiting for a child or gone to collect a child, it might not be the case.’