September 2016

Predator jailed for targeting girls in ’70s and ’90s

A 57-year-old who sexually abused young girls two decades apart has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Steven Crook first molested a girl in a town playground when she was about 12 years old in the mid 1970s.

And the pervert then got a seven-year-old girl to perform sex acts on him in the mid ’90s.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said the more recent victim first went to the police about Crook, to report what happened to her 20 years ago.

He said the man was caring for the youngster when he got her to indecently touch him on more than five occasions.

Mr Meeke said that when it became known that the police were investigating him another woman came forward to tell about what he did to her.

She said that when she was about 12 she was at a playground with Crook when he chased her, tripped her up and pinned her down before sexually assaulting her despite her shouts and screams.

A victim personal statement from the younger girl revealed that she started to blame herself for the abuse when she was about 12, suffering depression.

Crook, of Raybrook Crescent, Rodbourne, pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault.

Rob Ross, defending, said his client was full of remorse for what he had done when he was a younger man.

He pointed out that very few men confronted with the allegation he faced made admissions, which avoided the need for a trial.

“He is someone who has acknowledged what he has done was wrong: generally he is disgusted by it,” he said.

“His partner suffers from depression problems and is going to suffer as he is in custody.

“The offending happened at a time when he had a good deal of trauma in his life. He was drinking too much.

“There were bereavements. He doesn’t see that as an excuse but it allowed it to happen.

“This is a man who is significantly sorry for what he did, and I can’t say that about all the people I represent.”

Passing sentence Judge Peter Blair QC said: “I suspect, even though your guilty plea and your comments that have been passed on through Mr Ross to me, that you really don’t fully comprehend the devastating consequential affect it has on people through their lives when this sort of thing is done.

“Though you are 57 years of age now you have no reason to complain or grumble today that you are going to prison for a significant period of time.”

As well as jailing him he also ordered that he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.