August 2018

Pervert caught on phone recording confessing to sexually abusing young girl

A pervert had denied sexually abusing a young girl despite a recording being made of him confessing and apologising, a court heard.

Robert Barnden, of Kirby Close, Cranbrook, at first claimed he had only kissed the victim on the lips, using his tongue.

He was due to stand trial, with the victim having to give evidence by TV link, but then entered guilty pleas to seven offences of indecent assault.

Jailing him for four-and-a-half years, a judge told him: “You were a mature man of the world. She was a young teenager. I am sure she has suffered severe psychological harm.”

Prosecutor Tony Prosser said the victim only revealed relatively recently that Barnden, 61, had abused her as a child.

He started by kissing her the lips and then forced her to perform a sex act on him. He also touched her breasts over and under her clothes.

She kept quiet about it as a child and eventually told a friend when they were students, but it did not come to light until 2013 when she told her mother she had been abused.

He was recorded on a phone confessing to the abuse. He was accused of taking the victim’s “priceless” innocence. The recording was saved and a transcript was made.

Judge Philip Statman said a victim statement made it clear her life had been affected by the abuse. She found it hard to trust men and felt guilty for not reporting the matter earlier.

“One sees the difficulty a child would have,” said the judge. “I hope it will be passed onto her that it is not her fault.”

Barnden’s name will appear on the sex offenders’ register for life. A sexual harm prevention order was made for 10 years and he will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.

The judge recommended that he should attend a sex offender programme