May 2016

Pensioner jailed for sex offences against three schoolgirls in North Wales

A PENSIONER has been jailed for sexual offences against three schoolgirls.

Lawrence Thompson, 78, formerly of Hawarden, was a self-employed business consultant who worked as a volunteer mentor for a schools young enterprise scheme to encourage youngsters into business.

But he resigned after a complaint that he had groped a schoolgirl during a trip to a business fair.

Thompson, now of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, admitted charges of sexual touching and sexual activity with a child, which occurred in Flintshire, Wrexham and Rhyl.

He was jailed for eight months, placed on the sex offender register for a decade and a 10-year sexual harm prevention order was made.

Judge Niclas Parry told Mold Crown Court there were three separate victims and Thompson’s conduct went on over a four-year period.

In one case there had been an element of grooming.

In another he had placed himself in a working environment, although voluntary, which gave him access to young girls. 

He had grabbed a young girl’s bottom and slapped her. In the third case he took the opportunity to sexually touch a young girl.

There was a significant disparity in age and he had sought to minimise what he had done.

The judge said it was not a case of an elderly man offending in an age when attitudes were different.

He had offended in the modern age when there was huge publicity about sexual offences.

“You knew what you were doing was wrong,” he said.

His greatest mitigation was his guilty plea, said the judge.

He said Thompson had led an industrious life; he had no previous convictions and importantly there had been no touching of the naked breasts or genetalia.

But in view of the number of victims, the period of offending and the aggravating features, eight months would have to be served immediately and it would not be suspended, he said.

Elen Owen, prosecuting, said in interview Thompson admitted buying alcohol and tobacco for one girl, but denied anything sexual took place. He had also admitted touching the other two.

Defending barrister Simon Rogers said there had been no touching of the victims’ naked bodies and Thompson had not tried to get them to touch him. The level of offending was at the lower end, he said.

The complainants did not have to give evidence and Thompson’s guilty pleas also indicated his remorse, Mr Rogers said. Thompson accepted some responsibility, an important factor in his rehabilitation.

The defendant was a man with three grown-up children in their 30s and his daughter had attended court to support him, Mr Rogers added.

He had been a hard-working man and retired last year after running his own business consultancy.

Thompson was someone who had been very well thought of and the loss of his good character was something that affected him greatly.

Mr Rogers said the offences cast a great shadow over his client and his good work over the years.