April 2006

EX-COUNCILLOR JAILED IN CHILD SEX CASE

FORMER Cowes town councillor David Christopher Hill has been jailed for two years and banned from working with children indefinitely after admitting child sex offences.

Hill, 59, of High Street, Cowes, pleaded guilty to two charges of inciting indecency with a child and four counts of indecent assault earlier this month.

Judge Ian Pearson, sentencing Hill today (Tuesday), was told Hill’s life now lay in ruins, having lost his business and respect within the community he once served as a town councillor, school governor and greengrocer.

The court was told the first two charges related to Hill exposing himself and inviting the child to touch him, with the remainder relating to touching.

Sarah Jones, prosecuting, said Hill made broad admissions but in such a way to minimise his behaviour and attribute some cause on the victim.

However, Fern Russell, for Hill, said her client took full responsibility in the case and attributed no blame on the child.

“He said: ‘I am totally responsible’. Whatever he said after that is an attempt by him to explain to himself why he did these dreadful things.

“He attributes no blame to the young child in this case and he wishes to pay the price for it.”

Miss Russell said she did not want to minimise what Hill, a man of previous good character, had done but submitted there was no penetration and said that perhaps the offences were at the lower end of the scale.

“His life lays in ruin now. This is of his own making and that’s just punishment,” she said.

“He has lost family and his business and his respect within the local community. At his stage in life when he is considering retirement, he has brought nothing but bleakness to his future.”

Judge Pearson told Hill he gave him credit for his early guilty pleas and the admissions he made to police during their enquiries. He said he also took account of Hill’s good record of public duty over the past decade.

“I take account that there was no penetration, no force was used or threats,” Judge Pearson said.

However, he said the victim was young and vulnerable.

“You are not a significant risk now to others. I don’t think they are likely to be repeated but I do take the view that they are so serious that only a custodial sentence is just. I accept your own life has been ruined but it’s incumbent on me to punish you.”

Hill was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently.