August 2021

Paedophile admits 30 child sex offences against 13 girls

A man has admitted a series of 30 sex offences against 13 girls over the course of almost six years. 

Matthew Clarke appeared in custody at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday afternoon.

The 23-year-old was arrested in November last year after officers from the Essex Police child sexual exploitation proactive investigation team carried out a warrant in Colchester.

Clarke, of Delamere Road, Colchester, admitted one count of sexual assault by penetration, one count of sexual assault and two counts of sexual activity with a child.

He also admitted 12 counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, four counts of causing a child to watch a sexual activity, four counts of sexual communication with a child and six counts of making indecent images of a child.

The offences took place between February 2015 and November 2020, involving girls aged 12 to 15.

Clarke denied one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of sexual activity with a child.

Prosecutor Joanne Eley offered no evidence in respect of the charges.

Clarke also denied a single count of blackmail by making unwarranted demands for indecent images of a girl.

Miss Eley asked for the charge to lie on file – meaning there will no further proceedings against Clarke for blackmail without the leave of the Crown Court or the Court of Appeal. 

The task of reading out Clarke’s charges took almost half-an-hour and was shared between Judge Martyn Levett and a court clerk.

Judge Levett ordered an assessment by the probation service to determine whether or not Clarke should be regarded as a dangerous offender under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 – making him liable for an extended sentence or a life sentence.

He told Clarke: “I’m not making any indication of the sentence you are likely to get.

“The fact a report is made is not an indication of any type of sentence.”

Judge Levett set a date for sentencing at the same court on September 24.