May 2013

Prison for pervert who preyed on young children

Prison for pervert who preyed on young children

POLICE fear there may be other victims of a paedophile who has been locked up for the appalling sexual abuse of two young boys.

Neil Linkhorn is beginning a 10-year jail sentence after he was found guilty of the historic abuse of the boys, while they were aged between 10 and 12.

During the case, at Portsmouth Crown Court, it was revealed the 37-year-old was previously jailed for grabbing a young girl off the street.

The youngest male victim, now 26, went to police last year after suffering years of depression caused by the abuse.

The boys would visit Linkhorn, separately, and play computer games with him, between 1995 and 1997.

Sentencing Linkhorn, Judge Roger Hetherington said the two victims had visited his home for up to a year ‘with no difficulties’ but he suddenly began to start abusing them.

He would occasionally bribe them with small amounts of cash and warn them not to tell anyone about the abuse.

Judge Hetherington said: ‘It is very likely they really had no understanding of what was going on and they kept on coming back.’

He read out parts of the boys’ victim impact statements to the court which revealed they suffered nightmares, problems with relationships and work, depression and loneliness.

He said: ‘All these things you see in children who have to grow up with this shadow hanging over their lives from what happened to them when they were younger.

‘It’s one of those cases where it can be hoped, with some confidence, that the conclusion of these proceedings may have a healing effect.

‘But for the last 16 to 18 years they have had to live with the experience.’

The court heard that it was around the time Linkhorn, of Merchistoun Road, Horndean, was abusing the boys that he was convicted of trying to drag a girl aged between 13 and 15 into his car. He was jailed for two years for false imprisonment.

For the latest crimes of rape, and multiple counts of indecency with a child and indecent assault, Linkhorn was jailed for a total of 10 years.

Det Con Rebecca Green, who led the investigation, said the victims had suffered ongoing problems following the abuse and had issues trusting people.

She added: ‘I think they feel it has helped to end a chapter in their lives and gives them the opportunity to rebuild their lives properly.’

She added: ‘The two victims in this case displayed courage in the most emotional circumstances by reporting what happened to the police and then showing strength and resolve to give evidence for the courts.

‘I hope this case can provide a further example of reassurance that Hampshire Constabulary remains committed to supporting victims of sexual offences regardless of when they were committed.

‘I would like also like to appeal for anyone else to contact us if they have additional information about Mr Linkhorn or any details of allegations, which may be similar or connected to this case.’

Anyone with information can contact Hampshire Constabulary in strict confidence by phoning 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.