June 2017

Former church minister jailed for abusing young girl

A former Wirral church minister who befriended and sexually abused a vulnerable young girl has been jailed.

Martyn Poole, now 74, posed as a “father figure” to the girl before betraying her trust.

Poole, of Ward Grove in Rock Ferry, was jailed for 22 months at Liverpool Crown Court today after a jury convicted him of two counts of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child.

The judge, Recorder Andrew Long, told Poole: “The complainant met you through the church. At the time she was a particularly vulnerable child.

“She was being raised by her strict grandparents; attending church and doing church activities was one of the few things she was allowed to do.

“You befriended her, gained her trust and she looked to you as a father figure – you betrayed that trust.”

During the trial the court heard Poole abused the girl at his home.

The victim read a moving statement to the court describing how Poole ruined her childhood and left her battling depression throughout her life.

She said: “I will never forgive that man for taking away my childhood and other experiences I would have had in my life.

“I only hope justice will prevail and he will be punished for what he did to me all those years ago.”

The woman said she was a naive and innocent child when the abuse took place and was left with a distrust of men which continued into adulthood.

She said: “Because of what happened my life has been very different to what I hoped it would be as a child.”

The woman became upset as she read the statement and sobbed in the public gallery as the hearing continued.

Recorder Long said: “My view is you used your position in the church to facilitate the commission of these offences and to break the trust that people in the community had in you.”

The judge explained that because the offences were committed many years ago, his sentencing powers were limited to a maximum of two years under the law as it was at the time.

Poole was banned from unsupervised contact with children for life and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.