November 2010

Man, 70, jailed for child sex attacks

A 70-year-old man has been given a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexually abusing two girls as young as four years old.

James Lochrie, of Espringham Place, Upper Stratton, carried out the sex attacks on the children between 1986 and 1993 on a regular basis.

The pensioner, who had already admitted six charges of indecent assault when he appeared at Swindon Crown Court earlier this year, was due to face trial by jury yesterday after denying the three other counts of indecent assault on girls under the age of 13.

But after a last-minute change of plea, Lochrie appeared only to enter his guilty plea before returning to his cell, leaving Judge Euan Ambrose to pass sentence in his absence.

Defending, Nick Fridd said Lochrie had handed himself in at a police station in March this year two days before his wife’s funeral.

“He wanted to make as full and frank admission as possible so the victims wouldn’t be troubled by the police with questions,” he said.

“It was in an effort to save them any further trouble and upset as a result of what he did.

“Having walked in to the police station two days before his wife’s funeral, he has been in custody ever since. The greatest punishment he had, and he breaks down in tears when he speaks about it, is that he was never able to go to his wife’s funeral.

“He loved her, she loved him and he wasn’t there for her at the very end.

“He recognises that he has ruined his victims’ lives and for this he is deeply sorry and ashamed. He has a very clear understanding of what he has done and the impact it has made on their lives.”

While in custody, Lochrie had to undergo emergency open heart surgery and doctors gave him just an eight per cent chance of survival.

Mr Fridd added: “He recognises that his life expectancy isn’t that great and he is very likely to be dying in prison.”

Passing sentence, Judge Euan Ambrose said Lochrie’s victims had suffered nightmares, flashbacks, suicidal periods and relationship problems as a direct result of his actions.

“The nature of this type of abuse means a young girl is forced to live for many years with the stress, anxiety, shame, humiliation, confusion and physical discomfort,” he said.

“The girls’ childhoods were ruined and their adult lives grossly affected.

“It is no understatement to say his actions have ruined their lives – whether the damage is repairable remains to be seen in a much longer term.”