May 2003

Abuser is jailed for 18 months

A 43-year-old Westbury man has been jailed for 18 months after being convicted of a series of sex offences on a young girl.

Richard Flower was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault on the girl who he started to abuse when she was 11.

The court heard the child, who is now in her late teens, was so distressed by the abuse that she attempted to take her own life.

Flower, of Danvers Way, Westbury, was originally been charged with eight counts of indecent assault on the girl, dating from when she was nine.

But after a four-day trial earlier this year a jury at Swindon Crown Court convicted him of the six offences.

He was found not guilty of the earliest two charges relating to when the girl was nine and ten.

Michael Butt, defending, said despite a probation report putting his client in the medium risk category he was really low risk.

He criticised the technique used to assess child sex offenders saying it was ‘fatuous’ and ‘a cheap system’ which did not include input from psychiatrists or psychologists.

Flower, he said, continued to deny the offences and that also counted against him in the risk assessment.

Mr Butt told the court that once his client’s wife found out about his arrest she walked out on him leaving him without the relationship which he relied upon.

Jailing Flower, Recorder George Leggatt QC said: “You were found guilty by the jury of six charges of indecent assault conducted over four-and-a-half years from when she was 11 to 15 years old. It was made worse by the deep distress this caused her, driving her to attempt to commit suicide.”

As well as the 18-month jail term Flower was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.