March 2015

Convicted paedophile cleared of new charges

A JURY has cleared a convicted paedophile of fresh child abuse allegations.

County Durham van driver John Pennock – serving 17 years for offences against a girl from the 2000s – was acquitted of charges relating to a boy.

Today’s (Friday) verdicts atTeesside Crown Court came after the jury had deliberated for almost six-and-a-half hours over the course of two days.

Pennock, 45, denied trying to rape the boy and engaging in sex acts with him – and he still protests his innocence about his 2011 conviction.

His barrister, Jeremy Hill-Baker, QC, suggested during the trial that the boy came forward only after hearing the first accuser got compensation.

Pennock, who has links to County Durham, Teesside and Wearside, told the jury of six men and six women that he had never touched the boy, was not attracted to children and did not know why the claims were made.

He was found not guilty of four charges of attempted rape, two of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and sexual activity with a child.

During the five-day trial, the complainant was accused of seeking money after hearing Pennock’s first victim had been awarded £22,000 compensation.

Replying to the suggestion from Mr Hill-Baker that he made it all up, the complainant said: “I don’t think so – not in a million years. I wouldn’t.”

The jury heard that Pennock was fostered as a baby and has lived in Sunderland, East Rainton and Shotton Colliery, County Durham, and in Middlesbrough.

He worked as a steel erector for a company in Spennymoor, County Durham, on building sites across the region, and in a kebab factory in Washington.

March 2015

CONVICTED paedophile serving a 17-year prison sentence for child sex crimes is on trial facing further allegations

John Pennock denies four charges of attempted rape, one of sexual activity with a child, and two of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

It is alleged that the 45-year-old, from County Durham, systematically abused a boy while showering him with gifts and threatening him to stay quiet about it.

Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday that Pennock was jailed in 2011 for offences against another child – although he still denies doing anything wrong.

His barrister, Jeremy Hill-Baker, QC, accused the latest alleged victim of chasing money after hearing the first accuser got a £22,000 compensation payout.

Asked by Mr Hill-Baker of any of the abuse really happened, he replied over a live video-link to the courtroom: “Yeah, it did . . . I would not make it up.”

The lawyer highlighted a number of discrepancies in the complainant’s various accounts, and asked why he had waited years before reporting matters to police.

He answered: “Do you know how hard it is for somebody to come out with stuff like this? I wanted to tell the police but I didn’t want to put myself through what I am today.

“I didn’t think I was up to that.

“I thought I would not be able to hack people knowing about what he has done, and coming to court and stuff . . . I didn’t want people knowing about what’s been going on.”

Mr Hill-Baker suggested the complainant made the allegations only after learning of the payout from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority – which he denied.

“Do you think I would make up lies just for compensation? I don’t think so – not in a million years,” he told the jury of six men and six women.

Asked what it was that made him eventually speak to the police, he added: “Why should it be me who suffers and why should it be him who gets away with it?

“I don’t see why he should get away with what he has done to me. I don’t want him to get to other people like he got to me. I don’t think the public is safe around him.

“I thought why should he get away with what he has done. I want justice.”

Pennock, whose address on the court papers is HMP Durham, but is formerly from Shotton Colliery, near Peterlee, denies all the charges against him.

The trial, due to last five days, is expected to continue today