February 2006

Paedophile Protest

ANGRY protesters gathered outside a court hearing on Friday where a convicted paedophile pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.

Michael Alan France, 40, was allowed to leave the court building from the back door to avoid the crowd, who planned to pelt him with flour and eggs.

France, formerly of Wilton Estate, pleaded guilty to sexually touching a girl under 13 at Batley and Dewsbury Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

He was released on conditional bail and will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court at a later date.

France was convicted of four charges of gross indecency with a child and two of inciting gross indecency with a child in 1998 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Because of these previous convictions France has to remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register until 2008.

The family of his latest victim said they wanted information on sex offenders to be made public knowledge.

The girl’s mother said: “If we had known what he had done we would never have let our kids go round to his house, and we would have made sure he was never on his own with them.”

The girl’s stepfather was recently arrested for putting up inflammatory posters and spent six hours in custody.

The abuse of the 12-year-old girl started in July 2004.

The court heard France began by kissing the girl on the cheek and telling her he loved her and was there for her if she needed a father figure and wanted someone to talk to.

It then progressed to kissing on the mouth and touching her breasts through her top.

Prosecutor Miss Clodagh Maguire said when arrested France admitted most of the charges and told police he could not help himself.

The girl’s mother said she has been devastated by the abuse. She now lives out of the area with relatives.

France’s current address was not revealed during the hearing. The magistrate said the address, which France is bailed to, should be kept a secret to prevent other residents from being harmed.

France’s parents’ home in Carlinghow has been targeted by vandals.

His estranged family have also moved out of their home.