March 2011

Salvation Army pervert jailed for sexually abusing young girls


A SALVATION Army member has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing two young girls.

Barrie Walker, 50, plied one of them with sweets, toys and money to keep her quiet after he began indecently assaulting her when she was two.

The abuse by the churchgoer carried on repeatedly until she was nine.

He began assaulting the second girl when she was three and, when she was older, took her into his bedroom in the pretence of giving her a music lesson with his clarinet, before indecently touching her.

The abuse stopped when she was 14. 

Walker committed the crimes at his home in Drewry Lane, Derby, in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

One of his victims had since felt suicidal, while the other had suffered depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, a court heard.

Recorder John Pini, passing sentence, told Walker: “You knew full well what you were doing was wrong.

“But I accept you have had an extremely unusual childhood, almost monastic.”

He added Walker had led a “somewhat eccentric lifestyle”.

Nottingham Crown Court heard yesterday how he had lived with his parents all of his life and had never been in an adult relationship.

Walker told one of his victims she should not tell anyone what had happened, or they would both get into trouble, said Recorder Pini.

At one point he was interrupted during an assault, and pretended to be tickling the girl.

The Recorder said the use of sweets, toys and money displayed “an element of grooming”.

Laura Pitman, in mitigation, said Walker himself had been sexually abused as a teenager. She said: “At the time he was being abused, he did not realise it was wrong.

“He is not a man of high intelligence. He is a man of limited intelligence, a man who may not have realised what he was doing to those girls, and what he was doing was wrong.”

Her client is hoping to start an art course in prison, she added. He in still “in denial” about what happened, but has had “flashbacks” since.

Miss Pitman said the Salvation Army had given assurances that Walker had never been left alone with children through his work for the charity.

She said two people were in the courtroom from the Salvation Army to observe the case, including a magistrate.

Recorder Pini said: “This was a gross breach of trust.

“It’s quite clear your own problems have almost certainly been the trigger for these offences.”

Walker was found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault on a child, after a trial in February. He had denied the charges.

After yesterday’s hearing, a spokesman for the Salvation Army East Midlands said: “Now that Mr Walker has been sentenced, he has been removed from our membership.

“As a Christian charity, we are offering support to those affected by the proceedings.”

They refused to answer any other questions about Walker’s role with the Salvation Army.