October 2016

Nine year prison sentence for abuser who spurned offer to apologise to victim


A MAN who carried out the sustained sexual abuse of a girl more than three decades ago is finally paying for his offending, starting a nine-year prison sentence.

But 74-year-old Frank William Mountford was given the opportunity to avoid custody, after being confronted by his accuser and asked to acknowledge his actions before police became involved.

Durham Crown Court heard that more than 30-years after the abuse took place, she would have accepted a face-to-face apology, but following his refusal and denial of responsibility, the victim finally reported what had taken place.

Mountford, of Fife Avenue, Chester-le-Street, maintained his denials during a trial at the court, in June, during which the complainant was accused of telling lies with a possible financial motive, to gain compensation or seek insurance pay-outs.

But, on the fifth day of the hearing, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on one count of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child.

Following the verdicts, Judge Christopher Prince remanded Mountford in custody and adjourned to consider sentence, allowing the complainant to make an up-dated victim impact statement.

Passing sentences of five, two and two years, to run consecutively, at Friday’s hearing, Judge Prince told Mountford he would have received jail terms in excess of ten years had it been more recent offending.

But the judge said he had to take into account the available sentences for such offences at the time they took place.

The court heard Mountford has a similar previous conviction, but involving a different victim, committed three years before this period of abuse took place.

Rachael Landin, for Mountford, told the court: “He has lived for a very large part of his adult life a law-abiding life.”

Imposing sentence, however, Judge Prince told Mountford: “Your earlier threats that no-one would believe her couldn’t have been more wrong, because the jury of 12 men and women did believe she was telling the truth.

“It’s significant she arranged a meeting with you and confronted you, and said if you acknowledge what you have done and apologised, it would go no further.

“Had you apologised you would not have stood trial, and, not, today, be facing a custodial sentence.”

Mountford will be subject to registration as a sex offender for life and restrictions on release from prison under an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Having read the victim’s impact statement the judge said she should feel no sense of guilt over what took place, as she was, in no way, at fault.