April 2018

Teen says justice system let him down as predator escapes jail

A teenager who was sexually abused by his 87-year-old great great uncle, says the justice system is ‘broken’ after his relative avoided jail.

Basil Stonham, of Northleaze, Corsham, admitted at Swindon Crown Court to sexually assaulting the then 17-year-old and possessing images and films of child rape.

George W, who has waived his right to anonymity, stormed out of court after Judge Robert Pawson imposed a 20-month suspended sentence on Stonham, meaning that he will only go to prison if he reoffends in that time.

George, now 19, told the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald: “The justice system has failed me big time, it is broken.

“He probably returned home laughing to himself. He did disgusting things to me and he has avoided jail. All of my family are furious at the result.

“I wanted him to go to jail because I am worried that he could do this to someone else. I don’t think rehab will make a difference. He must be sick in the head. The verdict doesn’t make sense.”

The incident took place in December 2016, when George W went to Stonham’s house for a couple of hours to see if he was okay as the then 85-year-old had just come out of hospital.

George W, who became a transgender man in mid-2016, said how Stonham asked him if he wanted to watch a ‘pop’ video, which had footage of girls dancing in their underwear.

In the course of 30-45 minutes, a terrified George W froze in horror as Stonham tried to kiss him, put his hand up his top and tried to grope him.

Stonham then got on his hands and knees, between George W’s knees, and undid the teenager’s flies.

“I just froze. I was too shocked to move. I had known this man for as long as I could remember. He had come to birthdays and Christmas get togethers and then to see him doing this to me was horrific,” said George W.

“I managed to leave but I had a mental breakdown in the car. I called the police and eventually they arrested him two days later.

“He had always been quite touchy-feely, but you never expect anything like this.

“My family have completely cut him off now. We want nothing to do with him.”

Despite the verdict, George W says a very difficult chapter in his life has now closed.

“I am not happy with the result but I am glad it is finished. I feel bad for dragging my family through this for 18 months,” he said.

“I have seen documentaries where sexual assault victims bottle it up for years and years but I didn’t want to be one of those people.

“I am trans. I kept that to myself for a long time. People know about that so I thought they should know about this too.

“But I don’t like the fact that he was allowed a new computer after they took his old one away that had all of the disgusting stuff on it.”

Stonham pleaded guilty to sexual assault and three counts of making indecent images of children.

The judge imposed a 20 month jail term suspended for two years with 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement, a three month curfew and £200 in costs.

He thought that the best way to stop Stonham doing this again was to get help from probation, instead of going to jail.

Stonham must also abide by a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years