June 2021

Wickford paedophile, 78, jailed for historic abuse of girl

A paedophile who sexually abused a young girl in Wickford has been jailed for two years.

Michael Cantwell was locked up for the indecent assault of a child during the 1990s.

The 78-year-old of Meadow Court, Wickford, had denied two counts against him but he was unanimously convicted by a jury of five men and seven women at Basildon Crown Court.

The victim, a girl aged under 13 at the time, told police that Cantwell made her perform a sex act on him and he performed sex acts on himself while she was in the room.

The victim did not report the crimes at the time, but found the courage to approach the police about the incident in September 2018.

The woman was interviewed by police and gave full accounts of Cantwell’s abuse, which she admitted left her in tears.

During the trial’s opening, Joanne Eley, prosecuting, told the jury: “She [the victim] goes on to say she was such a young child and did not know what it was.

“But as she got older, she now appreciates what he was doing.”

The victim went on to say that the incident “was just horrible”.