November 2012

Man abused by Coventry uncle flew thousands of miles to see justice done

A MAN who was abused by his uncle nearly 50 years ago has travelled thousands of miles to watch him finally be brought to justice.

Andrew Smith was just 10 years old when David Baldock crept into his bed and assaulted him at homes in Coventry and Sussex.

Terrified and ashamed Mr Smith kept quiet for decades before confiding in his family and, this year, the police.

In that time Baldock went on to become a scout leader, a respected magistrate and senior member of the territorial army.

Yesterday at Coventry Crown Court Baldock, now 77, was on the other side of the court to finally be punished for his crime.

Mr Smith – who waived his right to anonymity to tell his story – flew from the home he shares with his family in California to watch the hearing.

It was the first time in decades he had seen his uncle. He hopes it’s the last.

“When the incident occurred, I was a young boy of 10 or 11,” Mr Smith said. “I was absolutely terrified and deeply ashamed of what had happened.

“I did have some idea that what had happened should not have occurred.

“But how could I tell my parents what my mother’s brother had done?

“At the time, I thought they would just not believe it.

“Mr Baldock had always plied me with fantastic gifts and money before and after the molestation.

“Back then child molestation was a taboo subject. It was kept quiet.

“People thought it would reflect on the entire family.”

One of the reasons Mr Smith has decided to tell his story is to encourage other victims of abusers to come forward, and explain how his experience affected his family.

He now lives in the US and his mother, now deceased, is convinced her son left Coventry to escape the shadow of her brother.

When he decided to tell his family the first person he confided in was his sister, who immediately confronted Baldock. He then told his parents.

Mr Smith added: “They were of course furious, saddened and deeply offended. This kind of crime affects the whole family, and not just the victim.

“Bringing this wretched man to justice is not only for me but for my father, my sister and my dear mother, who could never understand why her only brother would sexually violate her only son.

“Sharing my experiences and bringing Mr Baldock to justice after all of these years has not really helped to erase the memories – but now I know that nothing more can be done now that he has been convicted.

“If it’s possible to get any closure this must be it.

“After this I have got to get on with the rest of my life and put this behind me. 

“That’s if it is possible for me to put this completely out of my mind. I doubt it.”

At Coventry Crown Court Baldock, of Alpine Rise, Styvechale, was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years. Baldock had previously admitted two counts of assaulting a male. A third count was ordered to lie on the court file.

Judge Marten Coates could have jailed Baldock for two years, but explained that because the 77-year-old is profoundly deaf and suffers from a heart condition the sentence could be suspended.

Graeme Simpson, defending Baldock, said he had lived a life of “positive good character” in Coventry.

But while he was establishing himself as a respected member of the city, Mr Smith suffered with the consequences of his actions.

He only decided to contact the police after a high-profile court case in America.

Mr Smith watched on as Jerry Sandusky, an American football coach was jailed for the rest of his life for a series of sex attacks.

“I was enthralled with this case and sickened with all of the details that were revealed in court,” he said.

“I knew that at this point I needed to face my demons once and for all.

“It has haunted me from the day it happened – it has festered inside me for nearly half a century. As a young man I had tremendous feelings of anger.

“I shied away from male company and to this day have no close male friends.

“I am much more comfortable to be around women.

“This man was a magistrate and presented himself as a respectable citizen and was well known in his community.

“I doubt his community is embracing him at this time.”

Mr Smith, who now works as a maintenance technician at an animal sanctuary, is hoping that his story will encourage others to come forward.

He heaped praise on Coventry Police, particularly Pc Joanne McLean, for the way they handled the case.

He said: “To all of the people, young kids and adults out there who are victims of sexual predators I urge them to tell their stories.

“If they don’t the memories will not go away.”

Pc McLean said police were still looking into the case and appealed for anyone with information to contact her on 101.

September 2012

Former Coventry magistrate admits sexually abusing boy, 10

Former Coventry magistrate David Baldock pictured in 1980

A FORMER Coventry magistrate has admitted sexually abusing a young boy 50 years ago.

David Baldock, now 76, was brought to justice after his victim broke his silence and told police.

Baldock, of Styvechale, was in his late 20s when he committed two separate offences against the boy, who was 10 at the time.

His victim told no-one about the sexual assaults – and his attacker went on to become a magistrate and to rise to a senior position in the Territorial Army.

Baldock appeared at Coventry Crown Court and admitted two counts of indecently assaulting a male between December 1962 and January 1965.

A third similar count was denied.

Prosecutor Kathryn Roughton said those pleas were acceptable.

During the short hearing Baldock – who is now totally deaf – sat next to a solicitor who wrote down what was said allowing him to follow proceedings.

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be written on Baldock.

He will be sentenced next month.

Granting him bail, Judge Abbas Mithani QC said: “No promises are made that he will not receive a custodial sentence for this extremely serious offence.”

Baldock did his national service between 1954-6 in the Suez Canal Zone.

He returned to Coventry where he later became a magistrate and ran a number of property firms.

Following his national service he joined up with the Territorial Army where he became an officer.

He went on to become the Coventry divisional president of the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association.

A source close to the victim said they hoped the prosecution would give others who may have been abused the courage to come forward – even if it took place decades ago.

They also praised the police for the way the investigation had been handled.