October 2012

Child rapist jailed for life

Untitled

A child rapist from Purley has been jailed for life.

Robert Driver (3/9/63 – 49 ys) of Partridge Knoll, Purley, was sentenced
at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday 25 September to life imprisonment for
the rapes of two girls when they were aged 4 -7 years old.

Driver, who still maintains his innocence, received the life sentence for three counts of rape and a further 24 years for seven indecent assault charges – the sentences to run concurrently.

A jury found him guilty on all counts in May.

Driver was described during the trial as a “dysfunctional, non-working,
drunk, porn-addicted naturist”.

The rapes occurred between the years of 1997-2002 but it was not until 2010 that one of the victims realised Driver had “taken her innocence”, following a sex education school class.

Following the sex education class, the girl went to police, to speak up about her ordeal.

It was then that she met DC Carol Howard from the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Team, who tirelessly spearheaded the case – gathering evidence, tracking down Driver’s other victim and supporting both girls throughout the case until its conclusion last week.

Croydon Crown Court heard that one of the girls was the daughter of a
family friend. 

DC Christopher O’Doherty, who prepared the case for court, said: “Robert

Driver was a man who preyed on the most vulnerable of victims. He was entrusted to look after these young girls and used this position of responsibility to repeatedly sexually assault them.

“This case clearly highlights that although the offences occurred over 10 years ago the Met Police will do all they can to find the evidence to help convict such dangerous individuals.”

May 2012

I feel at peace’ says teen raped at the age of five after Croydon paedophile convicted

A TEENAGER says she feels “overwhelmed” after the paedophile who raped her when she was just five years old was this week brought to justice.

The girl, who is now 14, has bravely broken her silence in the hope that it will encourage other victims of abuse suffering in silence to come forward.

Former Croydon Scouts volunteer Robert Driver, 48, denied seven charges of indecent assault and three of rape, but was this week found guilty at Croydon Crown Court of sexually assaulting and raping two girls who were under seven years old.

The now 14-year-old, who lived with her family in Croydon when she suffered her ordeal in 2002, said: “I’m happy but at the same time overwhelmed.

“I feel justice has been done but it took a long time.

“I can now move on without having to worry. I think maybe that I will be able to go out without feeling self-conscious and able to get on with my school work.

“It feels great that I can try to move on and that I can sleep in my bed now instead of waking up on the staircase in the middle of the night. I couldn’t sleep properly because of everything.

“I don’t have to be scared anymore. I feel more at peace with myself.”

Driver assaulted and raped the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when he and his wife were visiting her family home.

The girl’s mother said: “There is no punishment severe enough.

“He destroyed my daughter’s innocence.”

From the age of five, the girl began self-harming, displaying severe behavioural problems and was regularly getting into trouble at school.

But another eight silent years would pass before the real reason for her problems was revealed to her family – she was attacked by Driver, while he was a guest in their home.

It was in 2010 that the victim realised Driver had “taken her innocence”, following a sex education school class, which this week led to him being found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting her, along with another girl under seven years old.

Following the sex education class, the girl went to police, to speak up about her ordeal.

It was then that she met Det Con Carol Howard from the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Team, who tirelessly spearheaded the case – gathering evidence, tracking down Driver’s other victim and supporting both girls throughout the case until its conclusion last week.

Driver, now 48, had been staying at the girl’s family home with his wife, who lay downstairs while he crept up the stairs during the night and preyed on the five-year-old.

The victim’s mother, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “There was something about him from the start I didn’t like at first, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

“I wish I had listened to my gut feeling.

“I feel sick because you are supposed to protect your children, not put them in the hands of a paedophile.”

Croydon Crown Court heard how Driver, of Partridge Knoll, Purley, attacked another girl repeatedly between 1997 and 2000, and this girl in 2002.

The former Scout volunteer was last Friday found guilty by jury of seven counts of indecent assault and three counts of rape.

Tony Badenoch, prosecuting, described Driver as a “dysfunctional, non-working, drunk, porn-addicted naturist” who received a thrill from the attacks, which left the girls with recurring nightmares.

Mr Badenoch said: “Each of them was raped and asked to perform sexual activity.

“They both articulate in their own way the horror. Mr Driver took their childhoods and destroyed them.”

The girl’s mother told the Advertiser that during his two-week stay with the family, who then lived in Croydon, Driver would creep up to her to try and kiss her also.

She said: “I had to tell his wife to tell him to stop coming up the stairs to me in the middle of the night. I put it down to the drink at the time, but now I know he was just a predator, regardless of age, and for that reason he deserves to be locked up and the key thrown away.

“My daughter should have been able to grow up and have a normal life like other girls.

“I would sincerely urge people to come forward who might also have been affected. It might take time but justice can be done.”

The court heard how a family member walked into the victim’s bedroom one morning to see Driver in a sleeping bag with her.

She told her family that he had asked her to perform sexual acts on him, but was unable to articulate her story to police at the time.

The girls’ accounts and nightmares – assessed by a psychotherapist who addressed the court – “mirrored” each other to such an extent, despite them not knowing each other, that Driver was found guilty. Psychotherapist Cath Connolly said both girls’ nightmares were “based on actual real-life events”.

Breaking her silence and speaking publicly for the first time, the victim told the Advertiser: “I feel justice has been done but it took a long time to do it.

“I want to say a massive thank you to my family for supporting me.”

The court heard Driver had a previous conviction for indecent assault in October 2003 after a woman who he stayed in a house with overnight awoke to find the 48-year-old sucking on her breast.

Despite the conviction, which was used by the prosecution to build a case against Driver, he claimed he was innocent and that at the time he had tripped over a nearby vacuum cleaner, meaning he landing on the woman’s breast awkwardly.

However after pleading guilty, he was given a three-year community rehabilitation order at Croydon Crown Court in 2004.

Tony Badenoch, prosecuting, also told the court Driver had punched his son, who was eventually put into care, in the face at a very young age in 2000. The offence led to him being convicted of ABH in 2001.

Driver was a former Croydon Scout volunteer but according to the borough’s Scouts district commissioner, Steve French, he ceased to be a helper in the mid-90s.

Mr French refused to say which branch Driver volunteered at, but added: “We regularly CRB-check our staff and deal with it in a very proactive way. All of our members in our care are immensely safe.”

Driver was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault and three of rape by a unanimous jury at Croydon Crown Court. He faces being given a life sentence on July 9.