September 2016

Property tycoon convicted of sexually abusing young girl


A former Ferrari-driving Dymchurch property tycoon has been convicted of sexually abusing a child 40 years ago.

But we can reveal that in 2005, John Stageman walked free from a court on similar charges – after the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all the charges.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court had ruled he was unfit to stand trial because of his mental and physical state and he was formally acquitted.

But seven years later, a victim – who was first abused when she was just a child – told how she had been raped in the 1970s by the evil predator.

But before police could quiz him, Stageman – who owned property in four counties – fled to Thailand and refused to return to the UK.

For three years – as prosecution lawyers attempted to get him extradited – the pervert stayed in a country where Gary Glitter and other paedophiles have sought refuge.

It was only when his visa ran out the Thai authorities threw him out and he was arrested when he landed back in the UK.

Now his victim has finally received justice after courageously coming forward to give evidence against the vile sex offender.

Stageman – who ran a gift arcade and a Bed and Breakfast hotel in the 1970s and 80s – is now facing a long jail sentence after the jury convicted him of rape and indecent assault.

His tragic victim revealed while giving evidence at Canterbury Crown Court how she was also raped by him after moving to the West Country.

In 2005 – before his victim had reported her ordeal  and when the businessman was 62 – he and his wife Lynne, then 57, a parish councillor had both had faced sex charges.

The charges were then dropped when it was ruled the businessman wasn’t fit to stand trial and no evidence was offered against Mrs Stageman.

Stageman had first been arrested in January 2000 and there had been 16 occasions between March and Aug 2001 when the case was listed for trial.

On August 17 2001, the prosecution issued a discontinuing notice against the couple who were then living in Newton Abbot.

But in March 2002 he was arrested again and there were 12 more hearings when Stagemen failed to appear after providing psychiatric, medical and cardiologists’ reports.

In April Stageman’s lawyers applied to the Attorney General to have the prosecution halted  and in March the following year they mounted an abuse of process case.

Then the Crown Prosecution Service decided to offer no evidence…and Stageman walked free.

But seven  years later, a woman contacted police and made an allegation she had been abused and raped…and after a two week trial, the jury believed her.

Stageman was remanded in custody and told by Judge Heather Norton to expect a long jail sentence. 

The jury heard many upsetting details from the victim as she was forced to re-live her prolonged ordeals.

But none more heartbreaking when she told how she had became pregnant not knowing if the vile rapist was the potential father.

She told how she was trying for a baby with her husband when she was sexually attacked.

In a video recorded by police and played to the jury, she revealed she became pregnant not knowing whether the father was her husband…or the rapist.

Tragically the mother suffered a miscarriage, later telling officers: “I’ve always worried, ‘cos I didn’t know whether my husband or Stageman was the father.

“I had no proof. I could never tell anybody. It’s stuck with me. I’ve always blamed myself.”

She added that before one of the rapes she had begged Stageman to leave her alone.

 “I said… I’m trying for a baby. I said you are not touching me now because this is when I’m supposed to get pregnant.

“And he went: ‘Oh you’ve got no worries about getting pregnant from me. I’m not going to make you pregnant, I’ve had a vasectomy.’

“I said: “Well I don’t care if you’ve had a vasectomy, how am I supposed to prove something like that? He said: “Ask Lynne (his wife)”

“I said: “Oh you’re talking rubbish, get out of my flat, leave me alone. What you did before, you’ve done, just leave me alone now.”

She then revealed how Stageman grabbed her and hit her across the face, or grabbed her hair telling her: ‘You’re not telling me what I can and can’t do.”

After an incident in his car he stopped the car and tried grabbing and kissing her.”

As he raped her again and she fought furiously to escape, he told her: “You can shout all you want, nobody’s going to believe you. There’s nobody here to hear you.”

But eventually the jury heard her voice from the witness box.