January 2019

Repeat sex offender discussed fantasies involving five-year-olds with his former cellmate

A repeat sexual offender who discussed fantasies involving five-year-olds with his former cellmate has been spared jail.

Peter Nigel Ashford, 66, of Wellington Esplanade, Lowestoft, sent a number of “horrific and appalling” messages before destroying his SIM card, despite being made to sign the sex offender register for life in 2001.

In the messages, Ashford talked about girls in parks, including a five-year-old with learning difficulties, and said: “age means everything to me.”

Nicola Pope, prosecuting, said: “He was using a mobile phone to communicate with another sex offender from Romania, with 40 grossly offensive messages found between March and July.

“He admitted sending these messages, but said they were fabricated fantasies and no victim was involved.

“There were conversations backwards and forwards between them.

“He destroyed the SIM card a few days before he was arrested, but some of the messages were recovered.

“Throughout his criminal record there are convictions spanning a number of decades which will cause concern and shows a continuing risk.”

Ashford, whose last conviction was in 2011, pleaded guilty to sending offensive and indecent messages on September 24 when he appeared at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court on November 28.

At that hearing, the court heard how the pensioner was “erotically winding up” his former cellmate, a Romanian who previously lived in Lowestoft, in the hope of “keeping in his good books” and going to Romania on holiday.

James Hartley, defending, said: “These messages are horrific and appalling and he is thoroughly ashamed. There is a difference between fantasy and putting it into practice.

“He threw the SIM card away because it was out of credit and he did not want it anymore.”

Ashford also admitted failing to comply with notification requirements for the sex offender register after failing to declare an American Express bank card, which he told the court was through a “misunderstanding” while registering his cards.

He returned to court on Wednesday, January 9, where magistrates handed him a 16-week prison sentence for the messages, and a four week sentence for the failure to comply, with both sentences running concurrently and suspended for 18 weeks.

He was also ordered to sign a Sexual Harm Prevention Order until further notice, to carry out 30 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days, and must pay £85 court costs and a £150 victim surcharge.

November 2018

Sexual offender sent ‘disgusting’ fantasies to former cellmate to ensure Romanian holidays

A repeat sexual offender who texted “disgusting” fantasies about young girls in return for a holiday has been warned he could be returning to prison.

Peter Nigel Ashford, of Wellington Esplanade, Lowestoft, was “erotically winding up” his former cellmate in the hope of “keeping in his good books” to go to Romania on holiday.

The 66-year-old has a number of previous convictions for sexual offences and was jailed for six years in 2001, when he was made to sign the sex offenders register for life.

Appearing at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, Ashford pleaded guilty to sending offensive and indecent messages.

Nicola Pope, prosecuting, said: “Police received a report that he was in contact with another sex offender from Romania and discovered 40 text messages between the pair that were of indecent content and greatly offensive.

“They were describing fantasies between the two sex offenders about little girls in parks, some with mental disabilities.

“In one of the messages, he said: ‘age means everything to me’.”

The court also heard how concerns about Ashford’s behaviour had been growing in recent years after he began contacting previous victims.

James Hartley, defending, said: “He is deeply ashamed of what he put in the messages.

“When he went to prison, he shared a cell with this other man and afterwards they kept in contact with each other. For the last few years he would go to Romania and stay in his property over the summer months.

“For that reason he has kept in touch and he sent the messages to keep him on side and in his good books so he could keep going over.

“The messages were only sent to one person of a similar persuasion. There was no victim, but I accept they make unpleasant reading.”

Ashford also admitted failing to comply with notification requirements for the sex offenders register after failing to declare an American Express bank card, which he told the court was through a “misunderstanding” while registering his cards.

Magistrates adjourned the case for an all-options pre-sentence report to be prepared, with Ashford warned he may face a prison sentence.

Peter Candon, chair of the bench, said: “The content of what was said was disgusting and you were both erotically winding each other up.

“We are not happy at all with this.”

Ashford will return to the court on January 9 for sentencing and was granted conditional bail until then, banning him from entering Normanston Park in Lowestoft.

July 2014: Now living in Kessingland, Suffolk and known to attend car boot sales

August 2001

Internet paedophile jailed

A paedophile who filmed sex sessions with underage girls he met in internet chatrooms has been sentenced to eight years in jail.

Peter Ashford, 48, of Thetford in Norfolk, admitted a total of 13 charges against the girls at an earlier hearing.

The charges included one count of rape, two of buggery, three counts of indecent assault and two charges of unlawful sexual intercourse.

He was also charged with two counts of taking pornographic photographs.

Ashford struck up relationships with two 14-year-old girls via internet chat rooms.

Judge Anthony Thorpe at Chichester Crown Court gave Ashford a 12 year sentence, made up of eight years in prison followed by four of extended supervision.

He added: “This case is yet another warning to parents of the dangers of internet chatrooms, allowing men like (Ashford) to strike up acquaintances with young girls.

“It is clear that many parents have no idea just what undesirable friendships are being established with their children over the net.”

Sussex police say they are investigating whether Ashford has committed other offences.

It was revealed in court he had a previous conviction for sexual offences against an underage girl.