October 2020

Judge blasts Erdington paedophile who abused girl for moaning about ‘rat-infested home’

A sex predator who groomed a young girl with sweets has been slammed by a judge for his self-pity after he moaned about his £50,000 debt and rat-infested home.

Colin Ward pleaded for a lenient sentence claiming he had ‘lost everything’ in a letter whilst only mentioning that he was sorry for the impact on his victims in the P.S. section.

Judge Sarah Buckingham was unimpressed and told the 60-year-old from Erdington that his ‘inward-looking does you no favours’.

But she suspended a 21-month prison sentence stating he was more likely to re-offend unless he received appropriate support for his sexual interest in children – which he would not receive in jail particularly under the tighter Covid-19 restrictions at present.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Ward sexually assaulted the girl multiple times throughout 2017 and 2018 by groping her above her clothes and on one occasion underneath her top.

There was also one instance where he pulled down his trousers and flashed his genitals at her.

Prosecutor Ian Ball stated that the victim would tell him to stop and try to move away. He also said Ward gave the girl ‘sweets and treats’ and instructed her not to tell anyone about what he was doing because ‘it was their little secret’.

Mr Ball read a statement from the victim’s father who said she had been left ‘traumatised’ while he himself had fallen into depression and turning to drink to ‘block things out’.

The prosecutor also revealed the defendant had admitted to abusing another victim in a similar way and was cautioned by police.

Chloe Ashley, defending, stated that Ward made ‘full frank admissions’ about his actions, ‘did not seek to minimise them’ and was ‘genuinely developing remorse for the harm caused’.

However Judge Buckingham questioned the latter point. She summarised a letter from the defendant where he spoke of his trouble sleeping over last three years, of ‘losing everything’ including his wife and home, and the difficulty of now living in a ‘rat-infested’ house of multi-occupancy with £50,000 worth of debt hanging over him.

Ward also apologised and said he ‘regretted everything’ before saying ‘P.S. I’m very sorry for all of the hurt caused’ to his victims.

Judge Buckingham said: “It sounds like he is feeling very sorry for himself, he is full of self-pity, it [the letter] is very inward-looking only mentioning his sorrow for the victims in the post script. It is mainly about himself.”

She added: “It shows a breath-taking lack of judgement that you thought a judge would feel sympathy towards your plight over that of the hurt caused to your victims. Your self pity and inward looking does you no favour whatsoever.”

Ward, of Slade Road, had pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 13 and one count of indecent exposure. His jail sentence was suspended for two years during which he must complete 20 days of rehabilitation activities and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Explaining why Ward had been spared immediate prison Judge Buckingham said: “The danger is unless your offending is addressed in the appropriate way you may commit further offences.”

Ward was also made the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offender’s register for ten years.