December 2017

No jail for 89-year-old paedophile because he is about to die

An 89-year-old man convicted of historic sexual abuse has walked free from court after the judge was told he would probably die in the next few months.

Vyvyan Thomas, from Torquay, pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault, one dating back almost half a century.

He was told by the judge at Exeter Crown Court that he deserved to serve two years in prison but the term would be suspended due to his terminal medical state.

Thomas is suffering from cancer as well as heart and liver disease.

Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC said: “You are 89 years old and effectively a man of good character but I have to sentence you for serious sexual offences committed by you against children many years ago.”

The offences were committed against two children, aged 14 and five.

Judge Mercer said the crimes had caused ‘untold damage’ on one victim and he had been deeply moved by an impact statement he had read.

“These offences obviously deserve an immediate sentence of two years in prison and that is the sentence I would have passed but for the medical evidence I now have before me which tells me of your extreme medical condition and your limited life expectancy.

“It’s this evidence and this evidence alone which prevents you from going to prison today and which in my judgement exceptionally makes a suspended sentence the appropriate and correct sentence.

“What you did all those years ago was very serious and would have resulted in you going to prison but for your extreme health problems.”

Thomas, of Cockington Lane, was jailed for two years, suspended for two years.

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