Paedophile vicar fails in bid for early release from prison cell
Convicted paedophile vicar Gordon Rideout has had his bid for early release from prison on compassionate grounds refused.
Rideout, who was jailed for sexually abusing children, had his application turned down.
Victims were told of decision to refuse his application by the Ministry of Justice and probation service and have welcomed it.
The vicar, of Wannock Close, Polegate, was jailed for 10 years in May for 36 separate sex offences.
He abused 16 children between 1962 and 1973, in Hampshire and Sussex.
One of his victims said she felt anguish at what she called Rideout’s “obvious ploy to manipulate the system” with his application.
Another victim expressed his “utter disgust and disbelief” at the news he had applied for release.
“Did this man ever show any compassion for his young victims – did he ever show any compassion for all of us that had to stand up in court and had our very unhappy childhood laid bare?” he said.
Rideout carried out 34 indecent assaults and two attempted rapes, most of them at Ifield Hall children’s home in Crawley, when he was an assistant curate.
Four of his convictions were for indecent assaults on two girls at the Middle Wallop army base, Hampshire, where he was a padre at St Michael’s Church.
Rideout was recently released from prison to attend hospital on a temporary licence and later returned to jail. The Ministry of Justice said the nature of his hospital treatment was confidential and that it could not discuss individual applications for compassionate release, and medical details were confidential.
A spokeswoman said a request for release on compassionate grounds could be granted if a prisoner had a terminal illness and was likely to die soon, or was bedridden or severely incapacitated.
A former priest has been found guilty of a total of 36 charges of historic sexual abuse, including two charges of attempted rape, many of them carried out at a children’s home in Sussex.
Gordon Rideout was found guilty by the jury at Lewes Crown Court of two attempted rapes and 34 indecent assaults on boys and girls as young as five years old.
He was acquitted of one charge of indecent assault.
Rideout was the assistant curate at St. Mary’s Church in Southgate, Crawley from September 1962 to September 1965 and during that time, he would regularly visit a Barnardo’s children’s home, Ifield Hall, which has since been demolished.
The majority of the offences took place there, although he was also convicted of four charges of indecent assault on two girls at the Middle Wallop army base.
Nigel Pilkington, Head of the CPS South East Complex Casework Unit, said: “As an assistant curate and then chaplain, Gordon Rideout was in a position of trust, which he systemically abused, indecently assaulting the vulnerable youngsters that he met over a number of years.
“He was able to wander through Ifield Hall and the gardens, even visiting children when they were sick and alone in bed.
“One victim recalled how the children would hide under their covers when he came into their dormitories.
“A number of his victims attempted to speak out about what Rideout was doing, but tragically at the time of the offences, a child’s word was not believed.
“Those who were brave enough to say anything were subjected to brutal beatings. Some of his victims told police in interviews that it simply ‘wasn’t worth complaining’ because of the punishment they would receive in return.
“Instead the victims hid what happened to them for many years and none of us can begin to imagine the impact that has had on their lives. I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and the fortitude of the victims in coming forward to give evidence.
“Those who heard the evidence they gave at court will have realised how difficult this has been for them.
“They may not have been believed as children, but today they finally have been. I hope that helps to give them closure.
“I would like to thank Barnardo’s for the role they played in helping to bring this case to trial.”
Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East, Roger Coe-Salazar, said: “This case is an example of how the CPS successfully prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and should serve as a warning to those who think they can abuse children with impunity.
“We are exceptionally mindful of how difficult it can be for victims to step forward and place their trust in the authorities many years later, but I hope this case illustrates the support and understanding they will receive from the prosecutors and the police when they do.”