September 2020

‘Dangerous sexual predator’ repeatedly raped child he met at church prayer meeting

A paedophile described as a “dangerous sexual predator” repeatedly raped a young girl he met at a church prayer meeting.

Charles Fanning, 74, preyed upon his vulnerable victim and groomed her by buying gifts in a bid to satisfy his own degraded sexual gratification.

Despite his victim’s age Fanning sexually touched her on a number of occasions before raping her on a number of occasions at an address in Cardiff.

The defendant, who has a catalogue of previous convictions for sexually assaulting young girls and consistently breaching a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO), was told he would “likely die behind bars” after being sentenced to 18 years in prison.

In her sentencing remarks Recorder Caroline Rees QC said: “Church prayer groups are a place where a child should feel safe and supported to seek out care, attention, and support but you are a dangerous sexual predator who was able to identify [the victim] as a vulnerable child to be exploited by you to satisfy your sexual needs.”

A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court heard Fanning, of HMP Parc, was found guilty of raping a child under 13 and sexually touching a child under 13.

Prosecutor Clare Wilks told the court Fanning began his grooming of his victim, who has lifelong anonymity, in the context of a church setting.

She also said the defendant would befriend families who had vulnerable children and would provide gifts to try and gain access to children.

In a victim personal statement read out to the court Fanning’s victim said she looked back on what happened to her as “gross and weird”.

She added: “I didn’t know at the time this wasn’t normal and it wasn’t until I grew up a little that I realised it was wrong. It should never have happened.

“The older I got the more it began to affect me. I had trust issues with people and I found it hard to deal with social situations. I kept associating what he did to me with other things.

“I have not found it easy to sleep. I have flashbacks and thoughts of harming myself. I have not coped well with this and it has left me with anxiety.”

The court heard the victim began opening up to teachers and friends and eventually disclosed what Fanning had done to her, which led to the police becoming involved.

She added: “I’m glad I told the police what happened so Charles couldn’t hurt anyone else. It’s taken half of my life to get this sorted.

“I don’t know how long it will take me to recover from this or if I ever can.”

Ms Wilks said Fanning two convictions for child abduction in 1999, two convictions for indecent assault in 2000, one conviction for sexual activity with a child in 2006, and five separate offences for breaching a SHPO by having unsupervised contact with children.

Recorder Rees described the victim as a “brave young woman” who was to be commended for her strength.

She added: “I hope she finds some closure after today’s sentencing hearing although what happened to her is likely to remain with her long after these proceedings have finished.”

The court found Fanning to be a dangerous offender and sentenced him to 18 years imprisonment with an extended six years on licence.

The defendant will serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before being able to apply for parole. He will also be subject to a SHPO and must sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

May 2012 Update – Regulary does busking/singing in Cardiff city centre. He has also been seen outside Harry Ramsdens chip shop busking

January 2011

Paedophile jailed for taking pictures

A pensioner banned for life from carrying a camera has been jailed for taking pictures in a city pub. 

In 1999 Charles Fanning, 65, was convicted of taking pictures of two children without their parents’ consent and a year later was in court for an indecent assault. 

A banning order, intended to prevent him going out with a camera, was imposed by a judge at Cardiff Crown Court in 2006, at police request. 

He was caught breaching it last October, when another customer became suspicious at the Owain Glyndwr and found a court report on the internet. 

Fanning admitted breaching the Sexual Offences Prevention Order(SOPO). 

He was jailed for 18 months.

November 2006

Pervert used camera to get close to girls

A pervert who hides behind a camera lens to get close to young girls could be banned from ever taking pictures again.

Charles Fanning, 61, of Bakers Court, Marshfield, near Cardiff, was yesterday convicted of touching a teenager in a City Road pub on a Sunday afternoon, while families were listening to a band.

A jury at Cardiff Crown Court heard how people knew him as the man who was always in The Cornerstone and other city pubs, taking pictures of musicians and customers.

But he was arrested earlier this year when a 15-year-old, in The Cornerstone with her family, became upset.

She told Cardiff Crown Court: ‘He told me I was stunning, smacked my bottom, and said he would like to take me down to Cardiff Castle to take sexy pictures of me in a short skirt and make-up and offered to take me to his flat.

‘He moved closer, putting his hands on my shoulders then moving them down to my waist and trying to kiss me. I felt dirty and horrible.’

It was not the first time Fanning’s photos had got him into trouble.

In 1999 he pleaded guilty to child abduction after taking two girls, aged nine and 13, to his home and photographing them without their parent’s permission. A year later, he was found guilty of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old after he took pictures of her.

He denied the offence in The Cornerstone in July, but did not give evidence to defend himself.

Prosecutor Eugene Egan said: ‘He had no case that would stand up to cross examination.

‘He is devious, has a wholly unhealthy interest in young girls and uses photography to ingratiate himself.’

Judge Philip Richards will pass sentence next month when the police intend to seek a sexual offences prevention order which could include a ban on him ever taking a camera into public again.

Fanning was convicted yesterday of a charge of sexual activity with a child,.