June 2013

Amusement arcade sex offender has jail sentence increased after new victim comes forward

rf

The owner of a Coventry amusement arcade who was jailed for sexually assaulting young customers has had his sentence increased after another victim came forward.

Russell Fletcher, 47, who ran Fun Bobs in Hales Street, was originally jailed for five years in April last year for sexually assaulting five different girls, aged five to 13, between 2003 and 2011.

But after the story appeared in the Telegraph, an 11-year-old girl found the courage to reveal that Fletcher had attacked her when she was nine, telling her he loved her and wanted to marry her.

The court heard that realising Fletcher was locked up made the youngster feel “safe” enough to confide in a relative.

And at Coventry Crown Court on Friday, Fletcher was jailed for three years after he admitted one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual activity with the girl between 2011 and 2012.

But because he was due to have been released in June next year, and will only serve half the latest sentence, he will only be behind bars for an extra six months.

Ian Speed, defending, asked whether the original sentence would have been greater had the latest victim been known about at the time, but conceded: “If there is no punishment it’s going to send out the wrong message.”

Passing sentence, Judge Phillip Gregory told Fletcher: “This poor girl was too frightened to tell anybody until she saw the publicity your conviction attracted.

“This means there is another victim to your behaviour. It’s right and proper that you be punished in respect of that matter.

“You cannot expect to have a freebie to what you did to this poor girl.”

Fletcher ran the amusement arcade, formerly known as The Buzz, for more than 20 years, despite having learning difficulties and a very low IQ.

The court heard the girl regularly visited with her sister and cousin between 2011 and 2012.

Tim Sapwell, prosecuting, said Fletcher would give the girl money to play on the machines, before inviting her into his office for sweets and biscuits, saying he had a chest of drawers full of presents, then locking the door behind them.

“He got her to sit on his lap,” said Mr Sapwell.

“He would kiss on her on the lips, tell her he loved her and wanted to marry her.

“He touched her private parts. She tried to stop him from doing this by pulling his hand away.”

He added: “She saw a photo and a report in the paper concerning his sentence hearing.

“She says in her interview that although at the time she did not feel able to report what happened, in the knowledge he was in prison she felt safe to report it to her uncle.”

Fletcher is on the sex offenders’ register for life.