October 2004

Man aged 80 jailed over assaults

An 80-year-old retired teacher and Baptist minister has been jailed for two years for molesting five girls.

Geoffrey Breed’s offences stretched from 1956 to 2000, Maidstone Crown Court heard on Thursday.

Breed, of Cleave Road, Gillingham, had denied 21 charges of indecent assault but was convicted of 18 and cleared of three offences.

Breed’s defence team asked the judge to impose a suspended sentence but was told he had to go “directly to jail”.

Export manager

The jury was told his first victim was now in her 50s but said she had been “fondled” by him when she was six.

Other victims, now aged in their 20s, said Breed would encourage them to sit on his lap when they were girls and they would be aware he was sexually aroused.

The trial was told Breed was given the freedom of the City of London in 1953 for his services to trade as an export manager.

He fought in the Far East during World War II and later became a school teacher and was ordained a Baptist minister.

‘Long-term abuse’

His QC Simon Farrell said Breed’s life was “in ruins” and it was a distinct possibility that he would die in prison.

But Judge Anthony Balston told Breed: “The jury that tried you found you guilty of persistent and long-term abuse.

“There are no exceptional circumstances in my view which could justify me suspending any sentence of imprisonment and for these offences you must go directly to jail.”

Breed was also banned from working with children for five years and will be on the sex offenders register.