September 2010

Paedophile evades jail term despite two decades of abuse

A paedophile who preyed on young children over a 22-year period has escaped jail.

Walter Parish, of Matlock Crescent, North Cheam, indecently assaulted two girls and two boys at his home between 1974 and 1996.

The victims, who were all under 14 at the time, were assaulted by the 64-year-old after innocently using his computer to do school work or play games.

The offences only came to light in 2009 when one female victim, who is now 28, came forward and told police.

Paul Cavin, prosecuting Parish, said: “Once that allegation was made many more came out of the woodwork.”

On Friday, Croydon Crown Court heard the defendant had “systematically and repeatedly” abused one little girl between 1974 and 1979 and even offered her gifts to prolong the abuse.

Mr Cavin said: “On occasions he tried to bribe her and told her he would buy her something from a catalogue if she would let him do it again.”

Another girl, who was 10-years-old, was targeted by Parish in 1993 after she used his word processor to print off some homework.

After using the computer he took the girl, who was a family friend, to his bedroom where he removed her dungarees and sexually assaulted her.

Parish’s next victim, a friend of the computer boffin’s son, said he was abused in 1993 when he playedcomputer games at the house in Matlock Crescent – this continued intermittently until 1996.

A fourth victim told police he was sexually assaulted by the defendant between 1987 and 1989.

Michael Chambers, defending Parish, said: “He accepts full responsibility for his actions and his decision to plead guilty was because he did not want to put the complainants through the trauma of a criminal trial.”

The court also heard the case has had a damaging effect on the defendant’s life as his wife now wants to end their 30-year marriage.

At a hearing in February this year, Parish denied all 14 charges but changed his plea to guilty in July – a decision he was given credit for.

Judge John Tanzer said: “This is an historic abuse case, it should be understood that what people do a long time ago has an effect on people throughout their lives.

“You have recognised the damage you have done and you have demonstrated your contrition by pleading guilty. It would have been significantly more difficult to prove if you hadn’t.

“What you have done is enable your victims to bring closure. I have to ask myself whether there is any public purpose in imposing a custodial sentence.

“It (this case) may encourage others to do what you have done.”

Judge Tanzer handed Parish a 36-month community order coupled with a supervision order and Parish must sign on the sex offenders’ register.