Feb 2008

Essex Top Cop Paedophile convicted for 6 years

A TOP Essex cop subjected a young girl to a sickening sequence of sexual abuse.

He now finds himself on the other side of the law after being jailed for six years yesterday.

Richard Croft, 50, formerly of St Charles Road, Brentwood, subjected his victim to a string of attacks over an 18-month period.

Croft was told by Judge David Goodin, sitting at Ipswich Crown Court, that he was guilty of a “catalogue of abuse”.

Croft, who has resigned from his job as an inspector with Essex Police and moved to Lincoln, pleaded guilty to six offences.

He admitted four offences of indecency with a child and two of indecent assault.

The court heard that Croft began sexual activity with his victim when she was just 12 years old.

Prosecutor Stephen Dyble said over the next 18 months Croft escalated his attentions towards the girl leading to full sexual intercourse on a number of occasions.

While Croft had admitted six offences, they were specimen charges said Mr Dyble.

The offending began while Croft was stationed at Stanford le Hope and took place at a number of locations.

Full sexual intercourse began when the girl was 13 and became commonplace, Mr Dyble told the court.

The offences came to light early last year when the victim, by then in her mid-20s, contacted Essex Police.

On March 9 last year officers went to Croft’s home in Brentwood and arrested him.

Mr Dyble said as Croft was led away he shouted to his wife: “See you in a few years.”

Appearing for Croft, John Caudle, said it was significant that no force had been used against the girl.

But Croft recognised she had suffered psychological damage and he was genuinely sorry.

Croft’s decision to plead guilty had spared his victim the trauma of giving evidence said Mr Caudle.

Since being charged Croft had sent letters expressing his remorse to the girl and her mother.

The case marked the end of an impeccable police career and previously unblemished personal record Mr Caudle added.

Croft ran Billericay Police Station from June 2001 to 2005 and was working as a response team inspector at Basildon until his arrest.

Jailing Croft for six years, Judge Goodin said he had betrayed the trust of the girl.

“In corrupting her and stealing her early adolescence you destroyed part of her life and that must affect her for many years to come, if not forever,” he said.

Croft was told he would remain on the Sexual Offenders’ Register for life.