September 2017

Burton woman who abused schoolboy 40 years ago avoids immediate jail term

A Burton woman who was involved in offences of gross indecency with a schoolboy 40 years ago has been given a suspended prison sentence after appearing in court.

Margaret Howard, 60, appeared at Stafford Crown Court on Friday, September 22, after having pleaded guilty to two specimen charges at an earlier hearing.

The charges relate to when the victim was 10 years old on dates between August 1977 and August 1978. 

Howard, of Oak Street, Burton, was given a 12-month prison term, suspended for a year and must register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Judge Michael Chambers QC said that Howard, who was 20 at the time of the offences, was involved in a serious breach of trust involving a young child. He said he had taken into account emotional and psychological impact on the victim, but accepted that the defendant had been immature.

Judge Chambers said reports showed Howard had expressed full remorse and had not committed any other offences and there was low risk of any further offending.

Andrew Wallace, prosecuting, said the defendant had pleaded guilty on the basis that the offences involved her touching the boy and allowing him to kiss her naked breasts and that it had happened on three or four occasions.

He said that the boy had a poor relationship with his parents and on occasions had stayed at the defendant’s home.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, read a brief impact statement to the court, in it he said the historic abuse had caused him to have relationship issues and matters came to light after he had sought therapy.

He said: “I used alcohol to escape and believed it was my fault, and it was hard not to blame myself.”

He told the court he had suffered depression, had a mental breakdown and had attempted suicide.

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