March 2010

Jailed: Bristol pensioner who sexually abused three girls under 13

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A Bristol pensioner convicted of sexually abusing three girls aged under 13 has been jailed for 12 years.

Former hotel porter Victor Dyer, 76, from Ashton, denied six charges of indecent assault against the first girl.

He also pleaded not guilty to three indecent assaults and seven indecent acts with the second girl, and three sexual assaults on the third.

Following a trial at Bristol Crown Court in January, he was unanimously acquitted of three indecent assaults on the first girl and three on the second girl.

But a jury of eight men and four women convicted him of all remaining counts by a majority of 10-2.

Judge Mark Horton told him: “In the trial it was plain that you were quite capable of extremely glib lies which you attempted to use in the course of the case.

“You have been an unseen danger to young girls. It is the duty of this court to send a message to girls who have been abused that they will be protected and society will protect them from people like you and punishment will need to be severe.”

Dyer, who was banned from working with children for life, was given a lifelong sexual offences prevention order, banning him from unsupervised contact with children aged under 16.

He was also told to sign on the sexual offenders’ register for life.

Before heading to the cells, Dyer blew a kiss to his gravely ill wife of 50 years Hilary, who sobbed in her wheelchair as she said goodbye to him.

Detective Constable John Roth, the police officer in charge of the case, told the Evening Post: “I hope the sentence of the judge today can help to give the victims closure from the years of abuse they’ve suffered. It sends out a message to people who are abusing young girls.”

At his trial, the first complainant described how Dyer would put her on the floor of his bathroom, pull her and his own clothes off and rub his private parts against her groin.

The second girl said Dyer would remove his and her trousers and carry out a sexual act in front of her, got her to touch him intimately and touched her between her legs on top of her clothing.

The third girl told the court Dyer sexually assaulted her when she was in his kitchen, over the course of three months, and it “really hurt”.

Dyer admitted an interest in aromatherapy oils, prompted by the care he gave his wife, who suffered from an infection of the lungs.

He said he used oil to treat the first girl for head lice and thrush, on the latter occasion applying it to her genital area – with her mother’s consent – as his wife stopped her from wriggling.

He denied inappropriate behaviour with the girls, telling the court: “It could not have happened. We have a stringent rule; children would not go upstairs with an adult, unattended, for the treatment or administering of oils.

“It was an agreed rule which sometimes couples make to ensure they are protected from violation by children.”

Dyer told the jury there was good reason for the imposition of the house rule.

He said: “It was to ensure this situation today does not happen; to protect the adult from whatever incrimination might be brought about by the lecherous thinking of some people.”

One mother recalled to the witness box told the jury: “I had not heard that rule before.”

She said she could not remember Dyer or his wife telling her anything like the rule.

Another mother recalled to court said she, too, was unaware of Dyer’s house rule.

She could not remember a time when her daughter had thrush and said she did not consent to the child being treated with essential oils at Dyer’s home.

She told the court: “I think if (the girl) had thrush I would have taken her to the doctor.”

Edward Burgess, defending, said: “The prosecution ultimately triumphed. But there are no winners, only losers. The case is nothing short of a human tragedy, first and foremost for the three victims who were three young girls.

“They were very young, vulnerable, dependant and trusting.”

Mr Burgess said his client had led an otherwise blameless life characterised by hard work and industry.

He said: “He has made valuable contributions to the community. He is spoken of in glowing terms by many who know him and still hold him dear.”