Victims’ relief as former school caretaker jailed for child sex crimes
A FORMER school caretaker was behind bars last night for a string of sickening child sex offences, as his victims’ parents told of their relief that he had been caught before his crimes became even more serious.
Adrian Peter Ryal – described as a dangerous fantasist by people who know him – was criticised by a judge for “showing no remorse whatsoever”.
The 43-year-old former soldier filmed himself sneaking into the room of a teenager and pulling down her bra to expose her breast as she slept.
In a defence labelled as “ridiculous” by a judge, he claimed the person in the mobile phone footage was his wife Gayle – and she supported his story.
But distinctive marks on the girl’s skin proved the account was a lie and Ryal was convicted of sexual assault and making an indecent image of a child.
The sordid film came to light after two other youngsters complained that Ryal had intimately touched them and sent them inappropriate text messages.
Ryal was found guilty of abusing all three girls after a retrial at Teesside Crown Court last month, and returned yesterday to be sentenced.
His barrister, David Comb, argued for a suspended jail sentence, but he was locked up for 18 months and put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.
Judge Sean Morris told him: “The effects on the girls has been horrendous. People should not belittle the devastating effect even the most minor sexual assault can have.
“What also is devastating and sometimes can be more so is not being believed and having to go through the trial process. For these girls, that was traumatic.”
Last night, the parents of the victims spoke of their fears of what kind of crimes Ryal would have gone on to commit had he not been caught in 2012.
One said: “There was obvious grooming that we were unaware of, and a clear escalation in his offending. God only knows where he would have stopped.”
Another added: “I checked his social media and he had an abundance – approximately 200 – friends on Facebook who were girls aged between 13 and 19. I ask myself the question, ‘why is this?'”
The judge told Ryal: “You sent the most inappropriate text messages to these girls, and I am satisfied you were seeing where the land lay as far as you becoming slightly over-familiar with them bit by bit.
“The defence you ran at court caused them upset and was, frankly, ridiculous.”
The court heard how Ryal, from Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, had been medically discharged from the army, and then became a primary school caretaker.
His barrister Mr Comb said he had been a juvenile delinquent and had been brought up in a violent household where he was horse-whipped by his step-mother.
Mr Comb said he “found salvation, identity, a high level of self-esteem and hard fairness in the way he was treated” when he was in the services.
As a result of the court case and last month’s conviction, Ryal was dismissed by school bosses, and his wife lost her job in a hospital operating theatre.
Mother-of-one Mrs Ryal – still standing by her disgraced husband – was blasted by one of the victims, who said: “I still can’t believe she lied for him.”
The teenager added: “It is impossible to understand how she could stand there in the witness box and say it was her in the film when she knew it was me.
“I had no idea what was happening to me when I was asleep. I was absolutely devastated when I was shown it. How many times had he done it before?
“I don’t think he realises how bad I feel about myself now. They told everyone I was a liar and said the person in the video was Gayle. He is not even sorry.”
Ryal said the short clip, which was even saved under the girl’s name on his phone – in which he can be heard heavy-breathing – was a role-playing sex game with his wife.
In an interview with a probation officer after his conviction, he still maintained he was innocent, and is, therefore, not suitable for sex offender treatment.
The father of one victim said after the case that the pervert lied to locals about being in the SAS, and never had any adult male friends.
The sleeping victim added: “I have never felt so betrayed and hurt by people as I have with them. I just don’t want him to be able to do this again with anyone else.”
Wife branded ‘despicable’ after lying about child sex abuse video to help husband escape justice
A WOMAN who lied about being the subject of a video made by her husband to help him escape justice for child sex crimes was last night branded ‘despicable’ by victims.
Gayle Ryal initially told detectives that she was shocked to see the short film – recorded on a mobile phone – and said the sleeping female did not look like her.
But when the case reached court, the hospital worker insisted it was her and the clip had been recorded by her husband Peter, who said it was part of a role-playing sex game.
School caretaker Ryal, 43, from Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, was convicted of four sex charges on the sixth day of a retrial at Teesside Crown Court.
Last night, his victims and their families told of their delight at the guilty verdicts – and despair at the actions of Mrs Ryal.
“They made out that the girls had been lying, and have put them and us through hell for more than two years,” one mother said. “A court of law has proved who the liars are.
“It’s hard to believe that someone trusted to be among children can act like this, and even harder to understand why his wife would make up a story to protect him.”
Another parent told The Northern Echo: “What she has done is despicable. Even in the face of conclusive evidence, she chose to lie on oath – not just once, but twice. It’s unforgivable, really.”
Hospital worker Mrs Ryal, 48, left court with her husband and a supporter, but the couple would not answer questions.
Ryal, who worked at Richmond Church of England Primary School, in North Yorkshire, was asked if he had put his wife up to it, or if he had any remorse, but stayed silent.
Judge Sean Morris granted him bail until mid-September and ordered that a pre-sentence report should be prepared by a probation worker to look into his background.
The judge told Ryal: “Don’t read into that any indication as to sentence. I can’t see any way other than a custodial sentence in this case. Bail will give you time to put your affairs in order.
North Yorkshire County Council suspended him in August 2014 until the outcome of the case, and said in a statement last night that he no longer worked at the school.
Prosecutor Ian Mullarkey said Ryal was arrested after two girls said they had been indecently touched by him, and that he sent them inappropriate texts.
Ryal claimed in a police interview that the accusers were lying because they were angry with him, and the messages contained nothing more than he would send friends.
But when his mobile phone was examined, the video was found of Ryal breathing heavily as he approached a sleeping female, whose face cannot be seen, and pulling down her bra to film her breast.
A university professor of anatomy and forensic anthropology, Sue Black, was called to give evidence in the retrial, and said it could not be Mrs Ryal.
Prof Black’s damning testimony was crucial to the case, and Detective Sergeant Andy Palmer said afterwards: “The jury was told Mrs Ryal could be excluded. That was vital.”
The jury of seven women and five men took four hours and 45 minutes to reach unanimous verdicts on charges of sexual assault and making an indecent photo of a child.
Ryal, of Sutton Avenue, Catterick Garrison, showed no emotion in the dock when they were announced, or when majority 11 to one verdicts were delivered on two other counts of sexual assault.
He had to sign on the sex offenders’ register before leaving court, and is likely to be made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order when he is sentenced to curb his future behaviour.
The court heard that the text messages he sent to the girls included randomly saying “give me a kiss, I love you” and one containing a photo of a filled bath, saying “join me in here”.