February 2015

Weobley paedophile jailed for 14 years for abusing young children

bishop

A “DEPRAVED” sex offender has been jailed for 14 years after a court heard how he “ruined” the lives of a brother and sister he groomed and abused more than 30 years ago.

But the victims – who both read powerful statements to the court about the devastating effect he had on their lives – believe John Bishop got off lightly, one saying he wanted to “slowly kill” him.

“We’re disappointed because the sentence doesn’t totally reflect the seriousness of his crimes,” said the male victim, now in his late 40s.

“He could have got life for just one of his offences, but the judge said that, because he pleaded guilty and avoided us having to give evidence, it should be reduced – and we don’t agree with that.”

The victim had earlier told Worcester Crown Court that the “rage” he felt still overwhelmed him at times and he lived “with a desire to harm and slowly kill Bishop”.

“I consider him the most evil man I’ve ever met,” he told Judge Robert Juckes QC.

Former cider company worker Bishop, of Burton Gardens, Weobley, who is disabled from childhood polio, admitted four serious sexual offences against the male victim when he was 14 and 15 in the early 1980s, and seven counts of indecent assault against him between 13 and 15.

The 65-year-old, pictured, also admitted two sex offences against the boy’s sister, who was 12, in the late 1970s.

Matthew Brook, prosecuting, said Bishop gave the boy cannabis and sometimes offered him money, although none was handed over. Once, he took semi-naked photos of the boy, who feared for years they would be shown to others.

Mr Brook added that the boy only recently, because of recent changes in attitudes, felt confident enough to report the abuse to the police.

The girl had felt “ashamed” she had let Bishop get away with what he was doing to her for so long and tried to deal with it by locking everything away in her mind, said Mr Brooks.

The male victim told the court: “In the words of my mother, Bishop ruined my life, a sentiment which I wholeheartedly agree with.

“I believe he ruined my schooling. I know that, during my teens, I was seen as a bad lad and at times I behaved badly.

“I can’t understand why nobody questioned why I was behaving as I was.

“When I was 19 I became a father of a son that I’ve not been a father to.

“My son was born and I was completely off the rails and had an abiding fear that I would harm my son because I read somewhere that people who had been abused become abusers and I was terrified of what I might do.”

He added that he still carried the shame of what Bishop had done to him after grooming him and his family and described his abuse as “disgusting and depraved”.

“I reject all forms of love because I am overwhelmed by murderous thoughts towards Bishop,” he said.

His sister told the court the abuse repulsed her, but she “lived in a little girl’s fantasy world” and believed Bishop had loved her. It had damaged her education and led to her having a string of unsuitable relationships.

Lee Marklew, defending, said that Bishop’s offending had taken place from 1976 to 1982 and he had otherwise led a “blameless and industrious life”, working at cider companies.

He added that Bishop, who suffered polio as a toddler and was now crippled by the effects as well as osteo-arthritis, wanted to an offer an “apology” to the two victims.

Judge Juckes said the victims had given their statements to the court with “great dignity and sadness” and had expressed the “sense of rage” they felt towards Bishop.

“I cannot put right the wrong that has been caused in the sentence that I pass – the statements that I have been read cannot determine the sentence I pass,” he said.

“But I can express the anger and public outrage for this kind of abuse of children.”

The judge said Bishop had groomed the boy and seduced the girl.

Telling Bishop that he would serve half his sentence in jail and the rest out on licence, the judge added that he had to balance punishment against the fact that the defendant had pleaded guilty, which prevented victims of abuse from suffering again by having to give evidence.

Judge Juckes added he had to give credit for the plea and Bishop’s otherwise good character but said: “It may be you have very little to look forward to in the rest of your life.”