December 2002

Community ‘hero’ jailed for sex attacks

A Neighbourhood Watch leader honoured for his work by the Home Secretary has been jailed for 13 years after being convicted of sexually attacking four women.

Tony Lane, 56, a former army lance corporal from Newport, south Wales, was found guilty at the city’s crown court of 12 offences against women.

They included two charges of rape, one attempted rape, four indecent assaults and causing and encouraging prostitution.

He was also convicted of indecency with a child, abducting a teenage girl, and two counts of actual bodily harm.

Lane had told the court how he had been presented with a gold medal by then Home Secretary Jack Straw for winning the best Neighbourhood Watch scheme award.

He had denied all the charges against him.

But the jury found him guilty of 12 charges after deliberating for six-and-a-half hours.

They cleared him of a further nine offences.

Sentencing, Judge Llewellyn-Jones said he took into account Lane’s previous contribution to society and his army service.

However he told him: “No person who has listened to the evidence in this case can but have been affected by the accounts of violence and perverted sexual behaviour that you inflicted upon four women over many years.

“The only person who it appears has not been totally moved is you.

“You have sat there in the dock quite unmoved by the evidence as it has been given.”

He ordered Lane to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and banned him from working with children.

The former soldier had set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the Newport suburb of Gaer in 1994 after tools were stolen from his car.

Within a few weeks, petty crime and vandalism on the estate had fallen by 90%.

But at the same time, he was carrying out the attacks on women and girls.

He had claimed he was “set up” by the women, whom he said had conspired against him.