October 2016

Sex offender is jailed after years of molesting young girls


A 52-year-old Gloucester man who sexually molested four girls while baby-sitting them has been jailed for 15 years.

Some of John Duke’s distraught victims were at Gloucester Crown Court last week to see him receive an extended jail term which will keep him behind bars for at least ten years.

He will be released only when the Parole Board decides he is no longer a danger to girls – and he will remain on prison licence until the year 2039.

The court heard that Duke, of Stanway Road, Gloucester, is an isolated loner who has spent his entire life living with his mother and has never had an adult sexual relationship.

But over the last 40 years he has abused the trust placed in him by the parents of four girls who asked him to child mind for them.

His lifelong offending, which started when he was only 13 himself, came to light last year when the mother of his latest victim – a five-year-old girl – walked into the bedroom to collect her daughter earlier than expected and caught him in the act.

Duke had denied all nine sex assault charges against him and went through a ’pantomime’ of trying to avoid trial by pretending he was ill or injured each time he was due in court.

But when Judge Michael Cullum was told last week that Duke was in hospital after spilling patio cleaner in his eyes he ordered police to go and arrest him.

An officer did so and Duke was then finally forced to face justice after evading several previous hearings.

He pleaded guilty that day to sexually assaulting his most recent victim on May 27 last year but continued to deny his offences against the other three girls – one now 45, another now aged 27 and the other in her late teens.

A trial began but the next morning, after his first night in custody on remand, he pleaded guilty to all the charges.

The mother who found him molesting her little girl told Judge Cullum: “This broke my heart – it haunts me every day. It breaks my heart to think what my daughter went through at the hands of someone she trusted and loved.

“Every night when I go to bed I have an image of seeing what he was doing to my daughter. “

Duke’s second victim, now 27, stated: “It has completely screwed my head up. It has had a massive impact on my life. I have lost my trust in people, especially older men. I feel angry towards him, I hate him. He is disgusting and he has made me feel disgusting.”

The third victim, now 18, said she no longer liked being hugged by anyone. Her relationship with her own father had suffered and she sleeps with more clothes on than she used to because she feels so vulnerable.

Jason Coulter, for Duke, said “One can fully understand and appreciate what he has put his victims through. It is truly awful.”

He added: “He has at least spared any of the victims the harrowing experience of having to give evidence in court. It seemed very much like a weight lifting off his shoulders when he owned up.”

Judge Cullum told Duke: “You have caused incalculable and irrepairable damage. You present a real and uncontrollable risk of further offending. “