Feb 2011

Residents in shock after paedophile is unmasked

THE village of Wyddial is in shock after learning that one of its residents is a paedophile.

Ronin Holmes, 55, was jailed for seven years for sexual activity with a 13-year-old boy

Robin Holmes, 55, of Home Cottages, Wyddial, was jailed for seven years at St Albans Crown Court for sexual activity with a 13-year-old-boy he met over the internet and for taking indecent photographs of a child.

Holmes, who pleaded guilty to the offences, is also disqualified from working with children and was put on the sex offenders list indefinitely.

Although Holmes was first arrested in January 2010 in connection with the crimes, the first many villagers knew about the case was when he was sentenced on Wednesday 16 February.

Yesterday, several refused to comment on an episode that has rocked the small village – consisting of just 35 houses and a church – to its core.

Exhibition designer Terry Geraghty, 65, said: “This has come on us from nowhere, it was just a rumour and it was quite a shock.

“He didn’t get on with anybody in the village, he was an outsider.

“We want something to close the whole issue – The whole business is terrifying.”

Kathleen Hewson, 93, added: “When I heard I was disgusted. We don’t want people like that in the village.”

It is understood Holmes, originally thought to come from Yorkshire, moved to a converted farmhouse in the village about 20 years ago.

Initially working at Wyddial Bury Farm, he is thought he drifted in and out of a number of jobs including working for a supermarket.

Around 10 years ago, Holmes married Joanne, but the relationship is thought to have ended around two years ago.

His ex-wife has since remarried and left the village, but her parents still reside in Wyddial.

One resident said of Holmes: “He seemed a jolly sort of guy, nothing strange, coming off as quite friendly. He was friends with a lot of people in the village.

“He started having boys in their teens and early 20s come to stay and some lived there.”

Explaining the wall of silence the press has encountered, they explained:

“It’s been very closely kept. We only heard rumours about it a month ago.

“We know quite a lot of people involved but they say ‘it’s not for me to say.’”

“Quite a few families are related and this is what village life is like.

“People don’t want their dirty washing hang out on the line.”

They added: “We worry about driving on the verges – that’s about how outrageous it gets around here.”

Holmes is said to be appealing against his sentence.