May 2021

Pervert was caught in the act of abusing teenage girl – but she had to wait 4 years for justice

A West Yorkshire judge branded an extraordinary four-year delay in getting a child abuse case to court “a disgrace” as he jailed the 55-year-old offender.

Richard Szabo sexually abused a teenage girl back in Bradford in June 2017, but his case did not get to the magistrates court in the city until March this year.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Szabo was caught in the act of abusing the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and he said he would admit what he had done if the police were called.

But Judge Andrew Hatton said Szabo then made “no reply” to questions when interviewed by the police and chose to prolong the agony for his victim.

“There is an inordinate delay between the interview and the postal requisitioning – the sending of a letter to you telling you to attend at the magistrates court,” said the judge.

“The letter was sent on the 19th of March 2020. Four days before this country went into lockdown.”

Judge Hatton referred to the need for the police to carry out scientific investigation of bedding and analysis of a mobile phone and other electronic devices because Szabo had not admitted his offending.

Even when his case finally came before the magistrates court in March this year Szabo did not indicate a guilty plea and he only admitted the offence at his first crown court appearance last month.

“It is only at that point, four years less two months later, that your victim realised she would not have to attend court and give her account of what happened to her that night,” the judge told Szabo.

“I can only imagine the anxiety she has experienced over the last four years.”

Szabo, of Appleton Court, Wigan, finally pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual activity with a child last month and today he was jailed for 18 months, but Judge Hatton said the delay in the case did not achieve justice for anybody.

“I find it extraordinary that the police took so long to send the file to the Crown Prosecution Service and for the letter of postal requisition to be sent,” said the judge.

“It is in fact a disgrace that it took so long.”

The judge said justice was not being served because the appropriate sentence had to be significantly reduced because of the “extraordinary delay”.

Szabo will now be on the sex offender register with the police for the next 10 years and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for the same period of time.