November 2016

Paedophile jailed for sexually abusing young girl

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An 83-year-old pensioner in poor health is resigned to dying in jail after he was jailed for 10 years for sex abuse of a young girl.

Lawrence Asbury, of Marks Square, Gravesend, looked frail as he was allowed to sit down throughout the hearing.

His lawyer told the judge: “He knows he is spending the rest of his life in custody.”

Asbury was in his 60s and had just been released from prison for indecency with a child when he started abusing the victim.

Maidstone Crown Court heard as well as molesting the girl he took sordid pornographic photos of her and kept them for years. One was taken through a hole in a ceiling or wall.

Six Polaroid photos were discovered in a black bag when he was arrested in 2014.

He admitted five charges of taking indecent photos of a child, one of possessing indecent photos of a child, one of sexual assault, one of indecency with a child and two of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Asbury will be on licence for a further year after Judge Jeremy Carey found he was “an offender of particular concern”.

It means he would not be eligible for parole until he has served half of the 10-year sentence.

Prosecutor Ian Hope said the victim did not reveal what had happened to her until late 2014. The indecent photos, he said, corroborated the abuse.

Asbury showed the girl pornography and persuaded her to pose for photos, which became more explicit.

He told her he was sexually assaulting her because his wife did not want to have sex with him any more.

Mr Hope said Asbury threatened that if she did not comply he would do it to another girl and show others the pictures of her.

“The prosecution say she was blackmailed both into continuing this… and also blackmailed into not reporting it,” he said.

Asbury was in June 2001 jailed for 30 months after he was convicted after trial of indecently assaulting a girl and harassing her by making threats. He attacked her and held a knife to her throat.

Mr Hope said of the latest offences: “He must have done it pretty much as soon as he came out of prison in January 2002.

“He started with her as soon as he got out of prison. It was grooming behaviour.”

Asbury’s name will appear on the sex offenders’ register for life and a sexual harm prevention order was made.

Judge Jeremy Carey said Asbury had abused his victim “in the vilest of ways and with determination, persistence and depravity”.

“Your grooming behaviour began by showing her pornography which, no doubt, she couldn’t begin to understand or fathom but in your warped mind you thought that would be a precurser to what you really wanted to do,” he continued.

Asbury had sought to satisfy his depraved desires.

“You accompanied your behaviour with threats to her of a very serious kind, which for a little girl would be terrifying,” said the judge.

“Your behaviour towards her and the other girl showed you were at that time a serious sex offender and danger to the public.”

Judge Carey said he recognised that Asbury was now extremely frail with chronic conditions.

“I have to take that into account when considering the appropriate length of sentence,” he said. “Also, the defendant’s age.

“Otherwise, as a sex offender you do not deserve sympathy or consideration – and you will get none.”

The judge added that the parole board would only release Asbury when it was thought safe to do so.

“It is acknowledged the likelihood is you will spend the rest of your life in custody,” he said.

Asbury had left his guilty plea far too late and branded the victim a liar until he reached the door of the court, said the judge.

After the hearing, investigating officer Detective Constable Steve Dingwall said: “Asbury had only recently been released from prison for sexually abusing another young girl when he went on to re-offend.

“He therefore clearly poses a risk to children and belongs behind bars where he can cause them no further harm.

“The victim in this case showed great courage in coming forward to report what happened to her, and hopefully the end result sends a strong message to any other victims of historic sexual abuse.

“They can rest assured they will receive all the support they need should they wish to tell us about the offences committed against them, no matter how long ago they may have been.”