August 2018

Former Swindon theatre worker Wicks jailed for years of sexual abuse

A former stage manager at the Wyvern Theatre who groomed and abused two vulnerable girls at the theatre has been jailed for 10 years.

David Wicks, who a judge said ‘showed a woeful lack of remorse’ molested the girls, starting when they 14 years old, in the dressing room at the town centre establishment.

And the 56-year-old even went on to have a full sexual relationship with one of his victims when she was 15, though he claims she was 16 by then, behind his wife’s back.

Pushpanjali Gohil, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how he carried out the repeated abuse on the girls, between 1995 and 2001.

She said he was in his mid thirties when he started the abuse by kissing one of the girls after taking her to see some rabbits during an after show party at the theatre.

He sexually abused the girls, on separate occasions years apart, in the changing rooms and carried on with the second child at his home.

Miss Gohil said the offences against the first girl took place between July 1995 and July 1997 and the other between January 1999 and January 2001.

“He was the stage manager. He was involved in the theatre management and stage management,” she said.

“He had a responsibility by virtue of his position for the safety of the children who were attending.

“There were various instances of sexual assault.

“In essence the Crown says that Mr Wicks used his position of trust, his age, his authority, to groom these girls in to what he terms a consensual sexual relationships.

“The fact is, by virtue of their age they could not consent. Now there is no suggestion of force as each of the complainants has set out.

“It was classic grooming. He was targeting vulnerable young girls, he was aware of their mental health difficulties.

“He used that position to organise rendezvous with both of them.”

She said the two victims suffered many psychological issues as a result of what they were put through.

Wicks, now of Westergate, near Chichester, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to nine counts of indecent assault when he appeared at Swindon Crown Court.

Between July 1995 and July 1997 he kissed and molested a girl aged 14 or 15 in at least four occasions.

Then from January 1999 to January 2001 he carried out similar activities on another girl at the theatre on more than 10 occasions and then at his home.

The court heard he had no previous convictions but was dismissed from a job in 2014 for gross misconduct over sexual advances to an adult female.

Jailing him Judge Robert Pawson said “In you pre-sentence report, which I have read carefully, you describe the activities as consensual. There is no concept of consent with children, because they can’t consent. The law protects the children of this country not only from those who do and would abuse them but also from themselves.

“You said you thought they were 16 years old and a chemistry existed between you. That shows an utter lack of remorse and a lack of insight in to your behaviour. You were, as the probation officer says, minimising your behaviour.

“You view is these were no more than mad moments: something that is contradicted by the period over which you perpetrated these offences and frequency of them.

“You say the CPS has embellished the effect of these offences on the victims. That shows a woeful lack of remorse on your behalf.”

Allegations that he kissed and molested another underage girl will not be pursued and will lie on file with other matters he denied.

Wicks must register as a sex offender for life and will also have to abide by a sexual harm prevention order.

July 2018

Former Wyvern Theatre worker groomed and abused two girls in Swindon

A former production manager at the Wyvern Theatre must register as a sex offender after admitting grooming and abusing two underage girls.

David Wicks even molested one of the youngsters in the theatre.

The 56-year-old went on to have a full sexual relationship with the girl when she was still only 15, prosecutors say, though he insists she was 16.

Wicks had been due to stand trial after pleading not guilty to indecently assaulting three girls between July 1995 and January 2001.

But the case was brought back before a judge where he accepted he had carried out sex acts on two of them while they were still underage.

He said he thought they were 15 at the time, but accepted that their recollections of being 14 when it started were more accurate.

Wicks, now of Westergate, near Chichester, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to nine counts of indecent assault when he appeared at Swindon Crown Court.

Between July 1995 and July 1997 he kissed and performed two sex acts on a girl aged 14 or 15 at least four times. From January 1999 to January 2001 he carried out similar activities on another girl at the theatre on more than 10 occasions, and then at his home.

Pushpanjali Gohil, prosecuting, said the girls were each 14 when the offending started.

She told the court that, although he claims he only had sexual intercourse with the child when she turned 16, the victim maintains it was when she was 15.

However prosecutors included the claim that he had sex with her as a child as part of their case.

Miss Gohil said: “The prosecution will open that because it shows the context with, and the progress of, this particular relationship/abuse.

“They had self esteem and mental health issues. He has targeted them and groomed them.”

Miss Gohil said that the allegations he kissed and assaulted another underage girl will not be pursued. As a result of his pleas the CPS will ask for those charges, and others against the two victims, which he has denied, to lie on file.

Judge Robert Pawson adjourned the case to Friday August 17 for a pre-sentence report and released Wicks on bail.