August 2019

Prolific sex offender jailed after victim spots attacker on Cornwall Live

Another dangerous predator is off the streets and behind bars after his victim spotted his image on Cornwall Live.

Former scaffolder William Pope, aged 58, originally from Penzance, has today been sentenced at Truro Crown Court to six and a half years in prison for a historic sexual assault.

Prolific offender Pope, who is currently residing in HMP Channings Wood after being previously sentenced for a string of indecent and sexual assaults on girls, featured in a Cornwall Live article in November 2017.

The article listed 67 ‘prolific sex offenders’. It was in this article that the victim spotted her attacker and contacted the police triggering a cold-case review.

The victim had been just 13-years-old at the time of the incident, which took place in October 2003 near Truro.

Following an extensive police investigation and press appeals (pictured), the case was originally filed as undetected back in 2003.

In late 2017, with help from the victim, officers managed to put together a case that left Pope with no other option but to plead guilty.

DC Joel Brown said: “The victim had spent 16 years not knowing who subjected her to this horrendous attack. At the time extensive enquiries were undertaken to identify the offender but unfortunately he could not be traced. 

“Following a further report to the police in late 2017, we have worked tirelessly on developing fresh lines of enquiry which resulted in William Pope being identified. 

“Pope was interviewed but denied being the attacker using a false alibi that he had been at work at the time of the incident in 2003. Following further investigation we managed to prove that Pope was lying and had not been at work.

“Shortly after being attacked in 2003, the victim provided a description of her attacker and an E-FIT image was produced (pictured). The image has a striking resemblance to Pope and matches his description with several prominent facial features. The victim also picked out Pope during a police identification procedure. 

“In 2017, Cornwall Live ran a news article which the victim had seen. The article contained 67 sex offenders. The victim was 100% clear she had seen an image of her attacker, William Pope. 

“Pope told officers he was at work on the day of the incident but this wasn’t the case with work records showing that he had taken the afternoon off that day. Fortunately his time sheets (pictured) had been retained which was significant for the case.

“Whilst reviewing the original case, a description was obtained of the potential attacker at the time, which stated that the suspect appeared to be dusty or dirty and looked like he had been on a building site. In this case Pope was a scaffolder and had been at work the morning prior to the attack.

“The victim in this case has shown extreme bravery and strength in re-contacting police having struggled for many years. 

“The message is clear; it does not matter how much time passes, we will always explore fresh lines of enquiry and seek to put those responsible before the courts. 

“William Pope had the opportunity to admit his guilt when interviewed but instead he lied and forced investigators to prove his involvement. Through a detailed investigation, this is exactly what happened and he has had little choice but to plead guilty.

“Pope is a convicted paedophile and will now spend further time behind bars, where he belongs. His offending has had a significant effect on the victim’s life and I hope that this sentence will go a small way to give her some closure after all these years.”

An emotive statement from the victim read: “I feel relieved that finally he will pay for his crime and that he can’t hurt anyone else and will remain behind bars.

“As for the press, I want to say thank you because without that article he would be walking free right now, my attacker wouldn’t have a name. To be able to say to myself ‘this happened to me and this person did it and he’s been convicted’ is something I never thought I would be able to say.

“My faith is more than restored in the police, words don’t can’t do justice what they have done for me.”

April 2015

Repeat sex offender jailed for attack in Penzance that was ‘every females’s nightmare’

A REPEAT sex offender, who subjected a terrified woman to a sexual assault, described as “every woman’s nightmare”, as she walked alone on the streets of Penzance, has been jailed – nearly three decades after he committed the offence.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was walking along Mount Street at about 1am in December 1988 when William Pope approached her from behind and dragged her towards a service lane.

Pope, now aged 54, forced the woman to the floor at which point she believes she lost consciousness, Truro Crown Court heard on Thursday.

The court heard that in 2012, Pope was jailed for a brutal sexual attack on an 11-year-old girl on a lane in Penzance in 1993.

Jason Beal, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the next thing the woman was aware of was that she was being sexually assaulted.

“She told the defendant that there was somebody with her in the hope that it would lead to him desisting,” said Mr Beal.

The ploy did not work and the court heard Pope, whose address was given as of no formal abode, continued to assault the woman until he was disturbed by a local resident who had heard the attack.

He then ran away, leaving a pair of moccasin shoes at the scene.

Mr Beal said in 2013 tapings taken from the shoes were analysed using DNA technology which had not been available in 1988.

DNA matching Pope’s was found on the tapeings and he was arrested.

Pope admitted assaulting the woman and said that he had been drinking and watching pornography before he saw her alone on the street.

He said he led her into an alleyway before touching her inappropriately while masturbating.

Mr Beal said: “This was a matter that was spurred by the defendant watching pornography [and] becoming sexually aroused that day.”

At an earlier hearing Pope pleaded guilty to one count of indecently assaulting the woman.

The court heard Pope had a number of previous convictions from the 1980s and 1990s including for indecently exposing himself.

In similar circumstances, Pope attacked the terrified victim while she was walking alone at night and was caught after DNA evidence was reviewed and pointed to him.

Kelly Scrivener, for the defence, said the offence had been committed 26 years ago.

But Pope understood the effect on his victim and that the effect was continuing. She said: “He, through me, wishes to ensure that she is told that he is sorry for what he did to her all those years ago.”

She added that Pope had led a reclusive life and that in the years before the attack he had suffered from cancer.

She said he had had two operations and had been told that the cancer had returned, which led him to be depressed and drink alcohol.

“The time that he had spent in custody makes him understand how in future if he feels depressed and ill he is to go and seek assistance,” added Ms Scrivener.

Sentencing, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC said he wanted Pope to understand how serious the assault had been.

“I described it a few moments ago as every woman’s nightmare – walking along a darkened path and being attacked from behind by a man intent on a sexual offence,” he said.

“The fear created in her mind by your activity that night has lingered in her ever since.

“She suffered nightmares; she does not like to go out in the dark and she has been a very anxious woman.”

Pope was jailed for five years.