September 2010

Family’s anger after pervert walks free

A JUDGE has allowed an internet pervert to walk free from court – despite admitting it will anger the family of his young victims.

David Cuthbert, 64, was given a community punishment and ordered to attend a course designed to stop him committing sexual crimes again.

But last night, the mother of one of his victims criticised the sentence, and told The Northern Echo: “I wanted justice and this isn’t it.”

Cuthbert, from Darlington, sent vulgar messages to two young girls, encouraging them to touch themselves and send him pictures.

The married father-of-two contacted them through an instant messaging site on the internet in early 2008and last year. The mother of the first girl, who lives in the Midlands, reacted with horror to the sentence imposed yesterday by Judge Peter Armstrong.

“It is disgusting. I want justice doing for what my daughter has had to go through because of this man.”

Teesside Crown Court heard how the self-employed landscape gardener told the 14-year-old special needs pupil that he was 24.

After initial innocent exchanges, Cuthbert moved the conversation to sexual matters, and his messages became more and more explicit.

His behaviour was exposed when the girl’s mother got suspicious about her becoming withdrawn and examined her laptop computer.

It later emerged that Cuthbert had also contacted – in a similar way – a girl under 13 from Scotland, and made the same requests.

He admitted two charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and asked for another to be taken into account.

Judge Armstrong gave him a three-year community order with supervision and ordered him to attend a sexual offenders’ treatment programme.

He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for five years, and banned from using social networking sites or contacting under-16s. Judge Armstrong admitted that Cuthbert deserved a prison sentence of at least 12 months, but said he would get better help in the community.

“I have no doubt that the family of this young girl consider I should lock you up for a long time,” the judge told the former shopkeeper. “Well, I can tell you, if you fail to engage with this sex offenders’ treatment programme, then that’s what will happen.”

Dan Cordey, mitigating, said Cuthbert has been shunned by people in his community since the charges came to light.

“He knows he will have to carry the burden with him for the rest of his life and, in particular, he has let down his wife, family and friends.”