Febuary 2008

Paedophile pensioner abused five children

A PAEDOPHILE pensioner was jailed yesterday for sexually abusing five girls.

Teesside Crown Court was told that 75-year-old Robert William Thompson surrendered to the police after he was confronted by his family.

His wife of more than 50 years walked out on him when she learned what he had done, and his family disowned him.

He admitted sexual assaults on five girls between 2002 and July last year.

One girl was so distressed that she self-harmed by cutting herself, said Paul Newcombe, prosecuting.

Thompson told another girl that if she told anyone about what had happened, she would be hated by her family and would be sent away.

When the allegations were first made in July, Thompson told the parents of the girls that they were lies.

Mr Newcombe said: “He was confronted by his two sons and he said to his wife, ‘I am sorry’.”

At Darlington police station, he became upset and said that he had done a terrible thing.

Sam Faulks, mitigating, said: “After this came to light and, following a family meeting, he attended the police station voluntarily and he made a full and frank statement.

“His wife of more than 50 years has left him – as well she might – and his family have disowned him – as well they might.

“He suffers from heart disease and he bitterly regrets his actions. The pre-sentence reports said how he has been ostracised by the local community and suffered criminal damage as a result of these allegations.

“If imprisoned, he will find it considerably harder than a lot of people. There is an alternative, which would give him the opportunity of receiving help now.”

Judge Michael Taylor said: “It was unpleasant. It was humiliating. It was confusing to these little girls, who were all vulnerable.

“The courts cannot overlook this sort of behaviour.

“If you were a younger man, you would be going to prison for a long time. I am asked to consider an alternative and I wish I was in a position to do so.

“You are not in the best of health and your life is in tatters, but the courts have a duty to send out a message that this will not be tolerated.”

Thompson, of North Street, The Market Place, Ferryhill, and formerly of Plantation View, Howden-le-Wear, both in County Durham, was jailed for 18 months, banned from contact with anyone under the age of 18 under a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and was ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual assault and an indecent assault, with two more indecent assaults taken into consideration.