November 2017

Paedophile jailed for sex offences

A Plymouth child abuser has been jailed for eight years after his brave victim told a judge how he had condemned her to a lifetime of loneliness and self doubt.

David Peters sexually assaulted the girl repeatedly for more than a decade, including touching her under her costume in the deep end of a public swimming baths in Plymouth.

His repeated assaults during the 1980s and 1990s robbed her of a normal childhood and left her with anxiety, depression, isolation and misplaced guilt.

She sobbed, gasped for breath, and stumbled over her words as she read out a heart-rending victim personal statement from the witness box at Exeter Crown Court

She said: “I came to hate the sheer sight of him. It has continued to affect me in later life. I just wanted a normal life. I have always felt on edge, anxious and sick when all I craved was normality.

“I have had mood swings and struggled with relationships. I have felt unable to plan for the future. I have felt lonely for as long as I can remember. I have always had to carry my secret around with me.

“As a result of the abuse, I have no self confidence. It took years to find the courage to go to the police.”

Peters, aged 62, of Austin Avenue, North Prospect, denied but was convicted of four counts of gross indecency and eight of indecent assault at a trial in Plymouth.

He was jailed for eight years and ordered to remain on the sex offenders’ register for life by Judge Mrs Justice May, sitting at Exeter Crown Court.

She told him: “This was casual violence and random and repeated abuse of a young girl over at least ten years. You did it in ways which were cruel and diminished her. You humiliated and put her down.

“To her enormous credit, she has found the courage to come forward. She spoke about how she was diminished and emotionally impoverished by your abuse and with a longing for a normal life.

“She spoke about how her terrible secret and the intense feelings of guilt.”

During the trial at Plymouth Crown Court the victim told how Peters had started abusing her when she was about six and gone on abusing her for many years, either touching her or forcing her to touch him.

Some of the assaults happened when he took her swimming at the former open air pool in Central Park, Plymouth.

October 2017

Man found guilty of sexually abusing girl more than 30 years ago

A man has been found guilty of repeatedly sexually abusing a young girl for almost a decade.

David Roy Peters, aged 62, stood impassively as the jury delivered guilty verdicts to 12 charges – four counts of gross indecency with a child and eight of indecently assaulting a child.

The case related to one child.

Peters, of Austin Avenue, North Prospect, had denied assaulting the child on a number of occasions between 1979 and 1988.

During the hearing, Bathsheba Cassell, for the Crown Prosecution Service explained how the incidents began when the woman was aged just six.

She approached the police in October 2015 after opening up about the abuse during a counselling session.

Ms Cassell said the victim – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – told police the first offences involved Peters putting her hand on to his private parts and making her perform an indecent act on him.

This moved onto him placing his privates between her bare legs and stimulating himself on several occasions.

In later years she told police he kissed her on her lips, pushing his tongue into her mouth.

The jury heard some of the offences took place at the Central Park swimming pool, now demolished and replaced by the Life Centre.

A video of the woman being interviewed by police was shown to the court during which the woman frequently broke down sobbing as she recalled the sexual abuse.

She explained how Peters would often warn her not to tell anyone and told her she would not be believed.

She also said that nearly 20 years ago she told a long-term boyfriend about the abuse but he did not believe her. She said his response was ‘at least it’s not happening now’.

When the former partner took the stand in Peters’ defence, he admitted his ex-partner had told him she had been molested.

When asked if he believed the woman, he replied ‘No’.

The woman’s current partner immediately accepted her account and even took a letter written by her to Peters – who admitted he had problems reading and writing.

He took the witness stand on behalf of the prosecution to insist he attended Peters’ home and read the letter, which outlined the abuse.

He told the jury that as he read out the damning words Peters “faded away, he seemed to get smaller”.

Peters claimed the woman’s partner had never attended his home and said he was unaware of any letter from her.

He denied he abused the woman when she was younger, saying “it never happened”.

He accused the woman’s partner of lying about his visit and said he had “no idea” why he was being accused by her.

Ms Cassell told the jury in her summing up that the woman had “no motive to lie” and referred to the emotional video interview saying the woman was “not an Oscar-winning actress, she’s just a normal woman from Plymouth. Her emotion was raw and genuine”.

As the verdicts of guilty were read out a cry of ‘yes!’ came from the public gallery where the woman and her supporters sat. A short while later the victim broke down in tears.

Peters supporters remained silent as the foreman of the jury said the guilty verdicts were all unanimous.

Mrs Justice Juliet May remanded Peters into custody and adjourned sentencing.

Peters will be sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on Wednesday, November 1.