April 2018

Dad-of-two spared jail after sexually assaulting boy in Ware

A dad-of-two who sexually assaulted a drunk boy in Ware has been spared jail.

Michael Walkerdine, 57, who lived in Thieves Lane, Hatfield, was given a ten-month suspended sentence at St Albans Crown Court today (April 19).

Walkerdine, who was given a hearing device in the dock, wiped his eyes as the court heard how he touched a boy’s naked genitalia on January 13 this year.

Prosecuting, Chris Hewerston read out the boy’s victim impact statement.

On the victim’s behalf, he said: “This incident has affected me in many ways. My grades have suffered. Ever since the incident I struggle to sleep all night, sometimes waking up at 2am or 3am and staying up all night.

“I now sleep with a torch beside me and I don’t go out a lot.”

One of his friends, who was sat in the public gallery, was ready to accommodate Walkerdine in her house while he comes to an arrangement for his future relationship with his wife.

The judge, Recorder Justin Rouse QC, said the offence “clearly crosses the custodial threshold”.

He said: “It has affected his [victim’s] education, confidence, even his ability to sleep at night.

Walkerdine nodded his head as the judge told him he had “shamed his family”.

He will serve the suspended sentence for two years, meaning any offence committed in that time is likely to land him in prison.

The judge also ordered him to attend 60 hours of rehabilitation and serve 180 hours of unpaid work.