Cholderton man found guilty of child sex abuse

An amateur radio enthusiast and “pillar of the community” has been found guilty on multiple counts of historic child sex abuse.

John Terence Cull, commonly known as Terry, was found guilty on 18 counts of rape and sexual assault of a girl over a 15-year period in the 1970s and 1980s.

The 77-year-old resident of Amesbury Road, Cholderton, had pleaded not guilty to all charges, but was found guilty on all counts by a jury at Winchester Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday September 9).

The jury had previously retired on Tuesday September 8 to consider evidence from the trial, which had begun on September 1.

Sentencing followed shortly after the verdict was given, when Cull was sentenced to a total of 51 years and eight months by Judge A J Barnett, the Recorder of Salisbury, across all counts. The sentences are to be served concurrently, so that Cull will spend 13 years in prison, as well as a year on extended licence. He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

The historic nature of the crimes meant that sentencing took place based on the laws in place at the time. Sentencing guidelines for the rape and sexual assault of a child now carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The court had previously heard his victim’s testimony to police, where she said that he had asked her to choose what she wanted done to her from the pages of a pornographic magazine, “like a catalogue.”

As a four-year-old, he would “stroke” her privates over her underwear, and from the age of eight onwards, he made her “lie across his lap on the sofa without any pants.”

The court heard that he began to assault her using his fingers, “nicking” her on some occasions as he did so, while she was also forced to dress in adult lingerie and touch Mr Cull inappropriately.

The victim said that he acted like a “teacher”, teaching her how to give oral sex and showing her his semen. It is also claimed he would make “sexual phone calls” to the girl while pretending to be a stranger.

The victim described the assaults as like she was “being torn apart” and having “burnt her brain,” and that she “died a thousand deaths to survive it.”

Anonymous sources had previously described Cull as a “longstanding pillar of the community” who had been President and Treasurer at a number of local organisations, as well as being a member of a village playgroup committee.

After the sentence was passed, Cull was taken from the dock to begin his sentence.