Sept 2006

Sex incident in pool shower

A MARRIED father of three who committed sexual offences involving a girl of 13 at the Newport Centre was jailed for 15 months.

Stephen Ford, 48, a man with no previous convictions and who was described as a pillar of the community, had “suffered a moment’s weakness of the flesh”, said his counsel, Peter Davies, at Cardiff crown court.

Ford had admitted charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

Judge Philip Richards told him: “You behaved in a wholly inappropriate way to this young girl.

“I’m quite prepared to accept she said things to you which were inappropriate.

“But the fact she made amorous advances to you in no way justifies what you did. Your reaction to that causes the court considerable concern.”

He said his behaviour had been “wicked”.

Prosecutor Stephen Hughes said that on July 30 Ford was in the Newport Centre pool when the girl kissed Ford, of Gwaun Newydd, Caerphilly.

He swam away, said Mr Hughes, and on the way to the changing rooms told her he “didn’t want to end up behind bars and be labelled a paedophile”.

But the court heard the pair went into a shower cubicle and there he began to carry out an indecent act on himself.

After pool attendants had seen the pair kiss and the public had complained, the police were called, it was said.

They looked into the cubicle and saw the girl with the defendant.

Ford’s counsel, Mr Davies, said the girl had led him by the wrist into the cubicle but that he was overcome by weakness and should have known better.

“There was no actual physical touching,” added Mr Davies.

Ford, he continued, had been in the military reserve and had worked for Oxfam.

His marriage was now in jeopardy and he had left the matrimonial home, said Mr Davies.

“He’s not a man in a dirty mac,” said Mr Davies.

“By his folly his life has altered.”

He was ordered to register, on his release, as a sex offender for ten years and was disqualified from working with children for life.