June 2010

Paedophile jailed 

A PAEDOPHILE who groomed a teenage girl with sweets and presents before abusing her has been sentenced to prison.

Tameside resident William Toft, aged 63, attacked his 14-year-old victim between 1987 and 1988 but the abuse was only revealed in February of last year.

Manchester Crown Court heard on Monday how Toft gained trust by buying gifts and treats for the girl, who is from Warrington.

He would then assault her in his car, at least twice a month, according to Rachel Shenton, prosecuting.

Ms Shenton said: “The defendant was kind and nice to her at first.

“He would order her to remove her clothes and assault her in his car, which would happen at least twice a month.”

When the girl was interviewed by social services in 1992, because Toft had been charged with indecently assaulting another teenager, she denied that anything had happened.

The court heard that this was due to threats made by the paedophile that left the girl terrified.

“He threatened her that if she told anyone he would cut off parts of her body,” added Ms Shenton.

Defending, Charlotte Holland said that Toft claimed to have been in a consensual relationship with the victim, and only after she reached 16.

She said: “The defendant says he cannot recall these offences and was drinking heavily at the time.

“His guilt and remorse is palpable – there is a low risk of re-offending and the sentence could be suspended.”

But when sentencing Toft to two years in prison for four counts of indecent assault, Judge Adrian Smith said the defendant had caused fear and confusion in a child.

“This court can only guess at the effects this has on a child.

“You can see the degree of distress and confusion you have caused her as she has grown up.

“Serving a sentence at 63 will be more difficult than it was then but that is the risk when you interfere with and threaten children.”