September 2002

Four years for paedophile who molested girls

A PAEDOPHILE with a record of sex offences dating back more than 20 years was jailed yesterday for four years for molesting young girls he befriended.

Roland Moules, 49, whose previous convictions included the rape of a probation officer, was found guilty of indecently assaulting two girls aged nine and 13 on separate occasions last year.

A jury convicted Moules of the two charges at a trial in August and he appeared at Bradford Crown Court yesterday for sentencing.

Since his conviction, Moules had admitted groping the older girl “on several occasions”, the court heard.

In evidence at the trial, the girls said they had met Moules at Pontefract Park and had visited his home in Grafton Street, Castleford, to see puppies.

At yesterday’s hearing, Jonathan Gibson, prosecuting, said the girls often stayed at Moules’s house on the pretext of going to car boot sales with him early the next morning.

Moules had taken the older girl on camping trips, asking her to sleep between him and his wife and to go swimming naked.

She woke up one morning to find Moules naked beside her, and when he asked her to have sex she refused and he fondled her breasts, said Mr Gibson.

Moules told the younger girl to massage his back and then he massaged her breasts, the court heard.

Sir Ivan Lawrence, mitigating, said Moules’s offences were “nowhere near the worst kind of indecent assaults that sicken juries”, with no evidence of violence or threats against his victims.

“Although he clearly has some paedophilic tendencies, there is no escalation of offences,” Sir Ivan said.

Moules had a string of previous convictions dating back to 1979, for sexual offences including rape and indecent assault on a boy and a girl under 14.

He was last released from jail in February 2000 and indecently assaulted the two girls during the summer of 2001.

Judge James Stewart QC told Moules: “You knew (the older girl) was a vulnerable child who came from a disturbed background, who had been ill-treated at home, and you took advantage.

“You have now admitted, notwithstanding your denial at trial, to touching her breasts not only on this occasion but also on others.”

Of Moules’s two victims, he added: “Their parents entrusted you to their care and you abused that trust.”

Sentencing him to two years for each offence, to be served consecutively, Judge Stewart QC said he had to bear in mind his duty to protect the public from Moules carrying out further similar offences.

The judge also extended Moules’s period of licence following his release to 10 years, during which he can be recalled to prison for any similar offence.

Judge Stewart QC had expressed concerns at Moules’s trial that the police had not been able to prevent Moules from committing the offences, despite him being placed on the sex offenders’ register in 1998.

“Surely the point is, when a man placed on this register is in their district, the police keep an eye on him,” he said.

He said yesterday that a report had since been passed to him from the police.

“It is accepted that the procedure was not very effective until earlier this year and has now been improved,” he said.