August 2019

Paedophile Arthur Shefford jailed for string of historical child sex crimes in Oxford

A depraved paedophile who groomed and sexually abused young children in Oxford has been jailed.

Arthur Shefford was yesterday branded a ‘self-indulgent sexual abuser’ who showed ‘no recognition’ for the damage he caused, by a sitting court judge.

From behind the dock at Oxford Crown Court the 77-year old of Abingdon Road, Oxford, showed little emotion as one of his victims recounted her ordeal at his hands.

The victim – one of four who were sexually abused as children, said: “He took my childhood, he took my innocence.

“He made me believe that nobody would believe me and made me feel worthless and dirty. I can’t change my past but I will change my future.”

Another victim called him the ‘big bad wolf’ and said the abuse left her suffering depression and in fear of going out alone

Shefford had denied 10 offences alleging indecent assault and indecency with a child dating back to the 1970s and 1980s in Oxford.

He was described as a ‘pillar of the community’ and local ‘character’ during his trial in June.

Shefford took to the witness box to profess his innocence, claiming before jurors that the sexual abuse ‘never happened’.

Despite his protestations he was convicted by a unanimous verdict on all counts after five hours and 20 minutes of deliberations.

At his sentencing hearing yesterday presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC said: “You used your position and respectability to entice and groom these young children into your world.

“Thankfully the jury saw you for what you truly are.

“A self indulgent sexual abuser who fails to understand or comprehend in any way the scale of the damage you did to all these young victims in this case.”

During the trial jurors were told Shefford had befriended a number of his victims and offered horse rides on an animal he kept at a stables in the city called Sugar.

It was while on this horse that the first victim – none of whom can be named for legal reasons – was indecently assaulted by Shefford.

In a video recorded interview with police the woman said that after the first incident on the horse the sexual abuse ‘became normal’ and indecent assaults would happen on multiple occasions.

She added: “Everyone knew him, he was classed as a pillar of the community. There was no reason not to trust him or for any kid not to trust him.”

She went on to say that during the sexual abuse Shefford made her feel both ‘terrified’ and ‘intimidated’.

Jurors were also told of other instances of abuse involving three other children including one child being incited to touch him inappropriately.

Sentencing, Judge Pringle said that Shefford continued to have ‘absolutely no recognition whatsoever’ of the impact he has had on his victims.

Shefford was jailed for a total of 12 years and ordered to serve one year of extended licence.

July 2019

Paedophile was trusted local ‘character’ but abused children in Oxford

A paedophile who was known as a trusted local ‘character’ has been convicted of historical sex abuse against four young children.

Arthur Shefford had denied nine counts of indecent assault, as well as one count of indecency with a child.

Prosecutors at his trial at Oxford Crown Court said the 77-year-old, of Abingdon Road, Oxford, indecently assaulted his four child victims on multiple occasions during the 1970s and 1980s.

His victims – who were all aged between four and 11 at the time – gave evidence throughout the trial which began last week.

They detailed their ordeal at the hands of Shefford with some describing being sexually abused while riding a horse he owned named Sugar.

Shefford meanwhile took to the witness box to profess his innocence, claiming before jurors that the sexual abuse ‘never happened’.

After five hours and 20 minutes of deliberations this afternoon, the jury panel found him guilty by a unanimous verdict of all 10 counts.

Once the verdicts had been handed down presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC agreed to adjourn the case so that a pre-sentence report can be prepared by the National Probation Service.

His final sentencing hearing will take place at the same court on August 1.

Shefford was released on bail