September 2017

Child abuse couple are saved from prison due to ill-health

A couple’s ill-health has saved them from prison for abusive treatment of children decades ago.

Kenneth Whiles, 71, who suffers from Alzheimers, was found in July to have indecently assaulted two boys and carried out acts of child cruelty.

His disabled wife Peggy Whiles, 70, was found guilty of three charges of child cruelty against two boys.

But the pair found out they would avoid detainment during a hearing at Teesside Crown Court today.

Handing a two-year supervision order to Mr Whiles, Judge Howard Crowson said his powers were “very limited” as a result of his Alzheimers.

A hospital order had been ruled out by a psychiatrist, and the Judge said he couldn’t “comprehend” an absolute discharge in a case of this type.

“The public may take the view that an absolute discharge is not any punishment at all,” he said.

“Each of them suffered at your hands. If it had been a criminal charge you would have gone to prison for a considerable length of time.”

The couple, of Durham Road, Eston, committed a total of 11 offences against four victims in the 1980s and early 1990s. They denied the allegations.

The cruelty offences included children being hit, punched, beaten with a belt and subjected to humiliating mistreatment.

In the case of Mrs Whiles, who turned 70 today, he reluctantly handed a 21-month sentence, suspended for 18 months because of her health issues

The couple’s victims, who are now in adulthood, lined the back wall of the court and broke into tears as the decisions were delivered.

Addressing them, the judge said he was trying to do the “right thing”, but added: “It will never be a thing I can give them.

“I can’t give them back what they have lost. I can’t possibly do that.”

He added: “I hope that they will be comforted by the fact that the court heard their cases and that the jury believed them.”

Mr Whiles was diagnosed with moderate severity Alzheimer’s days into his trial in July and deemed unfit to plea.

But the jury found he “did the acts charged against him” in eight counts – two of indecent assault, six of child cruelty – and cleared him on 13 other charges.

Mrs Whiles was cleared of two child cruelty charges.

Some of their victims made complaints almost 20 years ago, but no criminal prosecutions came about as some withdrew their complaints.

The case came to court years later after one victim, angry and feeling he never got justice, rang police threatening to kill the couple.

July 2017

Pair found guilty of child abuse charges

A pensioner committed acts of sexual assault and cruelty on children as a younger man, a jury has found.

Kenneth Whiles, 71, was found to have indecently assaulted two boys, and carried out acts of child cruelty against two boys and one girl, in eight charges.

His wife Peggy Whiles, 69, was found guilty of three charges of child cruelty against two boys.

These 11 offences were committed against four victims decades ago.

The couple denied wrongdoing and were cleared of 15 other charges following a trial at Teesside Crown Court on Thursday.

The jury reached its decisions following 15-and-a-half hours’ consideration, spread across four days after the three-week trial

Days into the trial, Mr Whiles was diagnosed with moderate severity Alzheimer’s disease and he was deemed unfit to stand trial.

The jury found he “did the acts charged against him” in eight counts – two of indecent assault, six of child cruelty – and cleared him on 13 other charges involving two complainants.

He was acquitted of seven counts of indecent assault and four of indecency with a child involving two boys, one of child cruelty, and one of assault causing actual bodily harm.

The jury could not reach a verdict on one count against Mr Whiles of indecent assault on a fifth complainant, the youngest boy.

The couple’s cruelty offences included children being hit, punched, beaten with a belt and subjected to humiliating mistreatment.

Mr Whiles sexually assaulted two boys. The court heard how one indecent assault profoundly affected a boy for the rest of his life, leaving him feeling “lost”.

Judge Howard Crowson adjourned sentencing until September 8 and bailed the couple, of Durham Road, Eston.

He said of Mr Whiles: “There are very limited things that can happen to him because of his condition.”

He said a hospital order had been ruled out by a psychiatrist and an absolute discharge was not deemed appropriate. The psychiatrist suggested a supervision order under the Mental Health Act.

He said prison was neither ruled out nor inevitable for Mrs Whiles, who is in a wheelchair.

He told her: “You must understand there is a risk of prison.

“I cannot rule out that I have to think about a prison sentence for what you’ve been found guilty of.”

Some of the victims made complaints almost 20 years ago, but no criminal prosecutions came about as some withdrew their complaints.

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