July 2015

Braintree man locked up for 15 years after abusing boy

lance middleditch

A man has been jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s.

A jury found Lance Middleditch, 57, of Queenborough Lane, Braintree, guilty of six charges – three of buggery and three of indecent assault on a male person.

He stood trial at Chelmsford Crown Court after denying 16 charges against the boy – who was a family friend – and was sentenced at the court this morning.

The jury heard how the victim, now in his 40s, was frequently forced into having sex at a variety of locations, starting when he was ten, at Middleditch’s former home in the Chelmsford area.

The victim claimed the abuse only stopped once he turned 18, after which he became addicted to drugs.

Miss Recorder Angel Rafferty QC said: “Your victim described the terrible shame he feels – it is not him who should be ashamed, it is you.

“My observations are that your offences caused considerable harm to your victim and it can’t be said that you have lead an otherwise blameless life.”

The court heard how Middleditch was convicted of a further offence in 2009, whereby he got into bed with a teenage boy and “touched and stroked” him.

He was given a total of 15 years for three counts of buggery as well as four years for the three counts of indecent assault to run concurrently.

March 2015

Man found guilty of sexually abusing schoolboy


A FATHER-OF-TWO has been found guilty of having sex with a teenager in the 1980s.

Lance Middleditch, 56, of Queenborough Lane, Braintree, was charged with 19 offences from May 1980 to December 1988, including indecent assault of a male, indecency with a child under 14 and buggery.

Middleditch denied all charges and a five-day trial began on Monday last week in which jurors were told how the defendant began abusing his victim at the age of 12 when he stayed on his sofa after a fireworks party in 1980.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that Middleditch used to walk his dog with the youngster, and the boy would regularly stay at his house after school when he lived in Chelmsford.

And as the boy got older, the abuse continued during long country drives and in the bagging shed when no one else was around at the Mid-Essex Gravel pit in Essex Regiment Way, where Middleditch worked at the time.

Middleditch also worked behind the bar at nearby Channels Golf Club, ran the Chequers pub in Writtle and became bankrupt, before taking up chef work in Suffolk.

The abuse was also said to have taken place during caravan holidays to Cromer in Norfolk.

A letter from Middleditch’s former wife to her parents in 1997, where she sets out why the marriage broke down, included concerns she had over the defendant when she found him in bed with a young boy.

The court heard that the abuse stopped in about 1988, when the victim had just come back from a holiday, where he had started taking drugs to block out what had happened.

A former partner of the victim told the court of an incident in the mid-90s when he saw the defendant in Chelmer Village shopping centre, becoming angry and agitated.

The court was told that Middleditch had pleaded guilty at Norfolk Crown Court to a separate sexual assault charge in 2004 on a young man who had been staying at his home, when the defendant came into the victim’s room and sexually assaulted him.

Middleditch was interviewed about these allegations at Colchester police station on January 8 last year and denied everything, claiming the victim was a drug addict trying to extort money from him.

During his interview with detectives, Middleditch said: “It was something I didn’t really want around my children. He was always after money when he was into drugs, so maybe that’s what he’s trying to do.”

But on Friday he was found guilty of 11 out of the 19 charges, including counts of eight indecent assaults on a male and three charges of buggery.

He was cleared of eight counts of indecency with a child under 14. Middleditch was released on bail and will be sentenced on Monday, March 30.