November 2020: Now living in Portumna, County Galway
Paedophile sentenced for systematic abus of young girls
A “predatory serial child abuser” has been jailed for 11 years for carrying out indecent acts against girls as young as five over a 16-year period.
A jury at Guildford Crown Court found Eric Adie, 72, of Ash Grove, Fernhurst, West Sussex, guilty of attempted rape and 10 counts of committing gross indecency with a child.
The offences were committed against three girls in Surrey and Hertfordshire between 1982 and 1998.
Adie was found not guilty on a further charge of assault, ill treatment and neglect of a child for which no evidence was offered.
Caroline Carberry, prosecuting, said during a seven-day trial that Adie had subjected his victims who, at the time of the offences, were aged between five and 14-years-old, to more serious abuse as time went on.
“He became a predatory abuser, lurking near parks and taking them home,” she told the court.
Jurors heard how Adie befriended the girls in Haslemere and later in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, while out walking his dogs.
Ms Carberry said: “Children are, by their very nature, easy targets, often unaware that what is being done is very, very wrong.
“They are often afraid they won’t be believed, particularly if the perpetrator tells them that they won’t be believed.”
The first victim, from Haslemere, was subjected to systematic abuse between July 1982 and July 1991, ranging from being forced to touch Adie, to him lying naked on top of her.
The two Hatfield victims were both befriended by Adie in 1998 and each spent time at his house.
“He was someone who was nice to her at a time when it would seem she was quite a vulnerable young woman,” Ms Carberry said of the second victim.
The attempted rape charge was against his third victim, who was 10-years-old at the time.
She told the court Adie had pushed her onto a bed, removed her school uniform and tried to rape her.
Adie refused to speak in his own defence, denying his victims and the jury any answers to some “really quite tricky questions”, said Ms Carberry.
“Why did you abuse young girls? Why was it your wife was heard to tell you not to bring young girls into the house? Do you find young girls sexually exciting to be around?” she had asked.
Adie will remain on the sex offenders’ register for life.