November 2007

DJ convicted of 30 sex attacks

A paedophile whose catalogue of crimes was described by a top judge as among the worst he had come across in 35 years has been jailed indefinitely for public protection.

David Russell Beech, aged 40, denied 39 allegations against him including multiple rapes and sexual assaults on children as young as eight.

But he was convicted of a total of 30 offences, including perverting the course of justice, by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court.

Judge Simon Lawler QC described Beech as an “evil predator” and said: “For some 35 years now I have had the misfortune to deal with many cases of child abuse.

“This case ranks among the worst I have ever encountered.”

Judge Lawler launched a stinging attack the former pub DJ from Shiregreen, saying he exploited his young victims, one of whom had learning difficulties, “without mercy”.

He added: “Over a period of many, many years you have, for your own sexual gratification, systematically and persistently abused.

“All your victims were young and vulnerable and you exploited and corrupted them.”

Beech’s reign of terror began 23 years ago and continued up until five days before his arrest in May.

He denied all the allegations – forcing his six victims, five of whom are still under the age of 18, to give evidence.

Judge Lawler said Beech relied on “tolerance and silence” to hide his crimes and said he posed a “considerable threat” to children and young people.

“You sought to label virtually every witness in this court case a liar,” said Judge Lawler.

“Your attitude shows you have no remorse or regret for the havoc you have wreaked in these young lives.”

He ordered Beech to serve a minimum term of 11-and-a-half years and told him he must sign on the sex offenders register for life.

He was also banned from ever working with children and a sexual offences prevention order was imposed without a time limit.

Beech was cleared of five rapes, one count of indecency with a child and one of sexually assaulting a child under 13.

The jury failed to reach a verdict on one count of rape and one of indecency with a child – both charges were ordered to lie on file.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Lisa Danforth, who led the investigation, said: “The victims are obviously traumatised and affected by these crimes and will have to live with the consequences for many years to come, if not for the rest of their lives.

“This investigation gives out a clear message that these types of crimes will not be tolerated and will be vigorously investigated and the offenders brought to justice.”

A combined statement from Beech’s victims said: “We must now try to rebuild our lives and deal with the violation we have suffered.

“Our families have found the strength to bring these matters to the attention of the police – we would encourage any person who is, or has been, in a similar situation to seek the assistance of the police.”