April 2019

Lawyer who represented defendants accused of sexual offences has himself been jailed for molesting children

A lawyer who represented defendants accused of sexual offences has himself been jailed for molesting children.

Michael Pulsford, 68, abused three boys and three girls while he was a Christian youth group leader between 1974 and 1989.

The victims, who were aged between 12 and 15, were abused in Wiltshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Pulsford admitted 16 counts of indecent assault. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison.

Southampton Crown Court heard Pulsford groomed children while he was viewed as a “pillar of the community” during summer camps, at his home and in his office.

His victims described Pulsford, of Corsham in Wiltshire, as “an evil manipulator” who had taken their “childhood innocence” by “abusing his position of trust”.

One complainant came forward in 2011 but Pulsford denied the allegations and no further action was taken.

But police reopened the investigation in 2017 when another victim reported Pulsford for indecent assault.

A man told the court that coverage of the Jimmy Savile scandal prompted him to recall his own experiences of Pulsford, who had qualified as a solicitor-advocate and represented clients in criminal proceedings.

“I remember googling Mike Pulsford and being appalled at the number of child abuse cases he had defended,” the man said.

He said he told police about being molested when asked if he had witnessed any abuse against another victim at a Christian camp in the 1970s.

Two more women came forward with allegations of indecent assault after media coverage of the case began, the court was told.

Judge Peter Henry said the youth group Pulsford led had the aim of “instilling Christian values”, but he had only been “pretending” to have those values.

“Throughout this period you were in a position of considerable power, influence and trust,” the judge said.

“What you did in this period amounts to a gross abuse of this trust.”

November 2018

Swindon solicitor and youth group leader admits indecent assault charges

solicitor who has spent decades defending alleged criminals at Swindon Crown Court is facing the prospect of jail after admitting a string of sex offences.

Mike Pulsford, who is also a leader at a Christian youth group, had admitted molesting three boys and a girl in the 1970s and 80s.

As a result the 67-year-old, who has resigned from the solicitors’ firm where he was a director, must register as a sex offender.

Pulsford pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault when he appeared before magistrates in Hampshire last month.

The case was adjourned when it came before a judge at Southampton Crown Court this week.

It is believed there could be a need to be a trial of issue as there may be a dispute over the age of one of the victims.

Pulsford, who gave the court an address in West Norwood, London, has lived in Corsham for many years where he volunteers for Urban Saints, formerly known as Crusaders.

He has also regularly gone on extended volunteering trips to India, where he has helped in the building of schools.

The first offences took place between July 1973 and July 1975 on the Isle of Wight where he twice indecently touched a boy under the age of 16.

In the five years to the end of 1978, in Hampshire, he indecently assaulted another underage lad.

He abused a third boy in the village of Gastard, Wiltshire, between February 1978 and February 1980.

The remaining eight counts relate to the repeated abuse of a girl in Wiltshire between April 1980 and April 1985.

He has accepted he kissed the girl, who was under 16, as well as touching her inappropriately and also getting her to touch him.

Pulsford was working as a clerk to the justices when he was admitted as a solicitor in 1980, becoming a deputy clerk to the North Wiltshire Magistrates’ Court a year later.

He went into private practice in 1985 and in 1994 was one of only 31 solicitors nationwide to be granted Higher Rights of Audience, meaning he could appear in the crown court.

Since then he has been a regular fixture in both magistrates courts across the county as well as Swindon Crown Court.

In an online biography, now removed, he says he has been involved in several high profile cases.

He represented Lord Cardigan, who was cleared following a number of trials, five years ago.

The biography also says he has been a local youth club leader for the past 30 years and on the Regional Committee of the Urban Saints.

The organisation is a non-denominational group for young people aged 8-16 which meets on Sunday afternoons at Corsham Community Centre.

They also have a large manor house on the Isle of Wight which is used for holidays for members from all over the country.

He has been released on bail to appear back before a judge in Southampton the week before Christmas.