June 2016

Appeal refused for serial paedophile who abused young girls

Lionel Fruen was sentenced on 29th January 2016 having pleaded guilty at an earlier stage.

The applicant was convicted of 19 counts of sexual offences at Liverpool Crown Court.

He was subsequently sentenced on 18th January 2016 to a total sentence of 15 years, comprising a custodial term of 14 years’ imprisonment with a further period of 1 year for which the offender is to be the subject of a licence

For count 1 he was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months’ imprisonment. For count 2 he was sentenced to 2 years and 8 months’ imprisonment to run consecutively.

The total sentence therefore was one of 6 years’ imprisonment. In addition the court made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order of indefinite duration. The Registrar has referred Fruen’s case to the full court.

Count 1 involved a child, A, whose mother was a close friend of the applicant’s then wife. On an occasion between October 1993 and October 1995 when A was aged about 8 or 9, her mother and the applicant’s wife had gone out for the evening.

The applicant was left to look after his own children and A. He was not happy about this.

During the evening he made A sit on his lap and in the presence of his young sons put his hand inside her pyjama bottoms and knickers and touched her vaginal area. He penetrated her vagina with his finger whispering “You like this don’t you”. A was upset but felt too scared to tell anyone what had happened.

Count 2 involved a different child, B. The applicant’s relationship with his ex-wife had come to an end and he began dating another woman whom he later married. She had two daughters, including B, so that the applicant became their stepfather. On an occasion between May 2001 and May 2003 when B was aged between 10 and 12, she went to the applicant’s bedroom to ask if she could go out.

Her mother was out at work and the applicant was in bed. He pulled the bedcovers aside and asked for a cuddle.

B got into bed. He put his hand on her hip, undid her dressing gown and started to rub her thigh. Then he placed his thumb on her vagina and began rubbing her clitoral area for about two minutes saying “Don’t tell mum about this little cuddle.”

Matters came to light in 2015 after the applicant drunkenly told B’s mother that he had touched child A. He had previously admitted to her that he had touched child B but B’s mother was in denial and took no action. The police became involved and both girls, by now young women, reported what had happened.

These are two specific offences against the two young girls.

There were victim impact statements from B and her mother. In the case of B, that showed that this offending has had a very serious effect on her life.

She said that it had destroyed her childhood and teenage years. B’s mother had also been significantly affected as she felt great guilt that she had not protected her daughter and had time off from work with stress and faced the possibility of losing her home as a result of this applicant’s custodial sentence.

The applicant had convinced B’s mother initially that B was a liar and mentally unstable and that what she had said about the abuse was untrue.

In the case of A the victim was younger and had suffered a penetrative offence committed in the presence of other children. Like the offence in relation to B, there was a breach of trust.

This applicant is 59 years of age. He has no relevant previous convictions. There was a pre-sentence report which assessed him as posing a medium risk of harm to female children.

In passing sentence the judge was conscious that the offences had been committed under a different sentencing regime and that the maximum sentence for each offence was 10 years.

He commented that the fact that the applicant had managed to evade justice for some time did not mean that his sentences should be less than they would be if they had been committed today