August 2021

Paedophile pensioner who took naked photos of abuse victim jailed for 20 years

A man in his 70s has been jailed for 20 years for a catalogue of horrific sexual assaults on young girls.

Gerald Mason repeatedly abused his young victims – one aged just six – over the course of years, even forcing one of the girls to pose naked so he could take a photograph with a Polaroid camera.

The pensioner then denied his guilt and forced his two victims to go through the ordeal of coming face to face with him in court and being cross-examined.

Sending Mason down a judge praised the courage of the women in giving evidence and said their words had moved everyone in court except the man in the dock.

Mason had previously been convicted of 38 sexual offences following a lengthy trial at Newport Crown Court when he appeared for sentencing.

The offending happened over a seven-year period between the late 1990s and the middle of the 2000s at a number of locations in south Wales.

It emerged during the trial that forced one of the young victims to pose sexually for him while he took a picture with his Polaroid camera and that he intimidated the other into silence by warning her that if she ever told anyone what was happening she wouldn’t see her family again.

In an impact statement which was read to the court by one of the victims she told Mason he was “a paedophile who preys on vulnerable young children”.

She said the defendant had used her “like a sex toy” and stolen her childhood innocence.

The woman said it had been an ordeal to report the abuse to the police and then go through the trial but she did not regret it, adding that “the truth always comes out” and she hoped that by her actions she would “free the quiet, shy girl” and be able to heal and move on.

In a statement from the second victim, which was read to the court, she said the abuse led to her dropping out of school and turning to drink and drugs in her teenage years and left her suffering with anxiety and depression. She added: “I know I will spend the rest of my life trying to deal with it.”

The court heard the girls were not the first youngsters 72-year-old Mason had sexually abused.

In 1987 he was convicted of gross indecency with a child after befriending a woman who was fleeing an abusive relationship and then sexually assaulting her four-year-old daughter.

He was given a suspended prison sentence for this offending.

Judge Daniel Williams said it was clear the defendant had not been deterred by his 1987 conviction – an offence which he said in these “more enlightened times” would carry a more severe sentence than the one handed to Mason. He told the defendant that while he “cultivated an image of yourself as a nice guy” in reality “you devoted decades of your life” to targeting vulnerable victims.

The judge commended the courage of the woman in coming forward and giving evidence. Judge Williams told Mason he could have avoided putting the woman through the experience of reliving the abuse in court by admitting his guilt but “such decency is way beyond you”.

Mason, of Grange Close, Trecenydd, Caerphilly, was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison. He will serve two-thirds of that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

The defendant will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life and was made the subject of a lifelong sexual harm prevention order to control his access to young girls.