September 2011

Paedophile jailed for 12 years after abusing four children

PAEDOPHILE Kelvin Eccleston has been jailed for twelve-and-a-half years after committing sexual offences against four different victims over a period spanning nearly two decades.

The 61-year-old, whose address cannot be reported by order of a judge, sexually abused four girls over a period of 19 years.

He denied 23 charges but was convicted of all the offences by a jury at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court last week.

At the sentence hearing yesterday, the court heard all four victims have been seriously affected by Eccleston’s offending.

One said he had “wrecked her life”, while another has been prescribed anti depressants. A third stated she felt her childhood was taken away from her and the final victim suffers with depression.

Patrick Thompson, mitigating, accepted the offences were “extremely unpleasant and serious”.

He said the defendant had significant health problems including arthritis in his knees, diabetes, chest pains and suffered heart problems 18 months ago.

“Prison will be a very difficult regime and he is also taking anti-depressants,” said Mr Thompson.

He said Eccleston spent six weeks in prison in 2005 and attempted to commit suicide.

He added that the defendant would be isolated and stigmatised when he was released.

“As a result of these offences, what is left of his life is effectively in ruins. He is going to struggle to cope when eventually released from this sentence.”

Jailing Eccleston for a total of twelve-and-a-half years, Recorder Philip Shears QC said: “You were convicted of 23 charges of sexual abuse of children. It was sexual abuse which spanned a period of 19 years.

“There were four victims involved.

“You have ruined the rest of your life.

“If you listened to the prosecution counsel outlining the witness impact statements you will appreciate that you have had a serious impact on the lives of your victims.

“One speaks of feelings of complete terror and anxiety for years.”

Recorder Shears QC said although the offences were serious, on balance, due to Eccleston’s age, his state of health and the way his offending developed in time, he does not consider there to be a significant risk of him causing serious harm by committing further offences.

But the judge did feel it necessary to make Eccleston the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for the purposes of protecting children from serious sexual harm.

This will remain in place until further orders are made.

He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register.

The sentence was welcomed by Detective Sergeant Simon Caton, from Staffordshire Police’s child protection unit based at Hanley police station.

He told The Sentinel: “The sentence sends out a clear message and should act as a deterrent.

“The impact of the victims in this case has been particularly significant which made the case quite a challenge to investigate.

“The abuse went on for quite a number of years. The victims deserve credit for having the courage to come forward and speak to the police, which is never easy in these matters.”

Det Sgt Caton added: “Eccleston will be an old man when he is released from prison.”