April 2019

97-year-old paedophile told he will probably die behind bars

A 97-year-old paedophile has been told he will probably die behind bars after being jailed for sexual abuse.

Christopher Stowe was finally brought to justice after his victim came forward 40 years later to reveal the sickening abuse.

Stowe was sentenced to six years in prison over four indecent assaults on the young girl who was just four-years-old when it happened during the 1970s.

If he survives another three years, he will spend his 100th birthday in prison. A court heard the paedophile was in his 50s when he abused her.

Stowe, who was born in 1921, was arrested after the victim, now in her 40s, found the courage to report the matter to police in 2017.

He was sentenced after pleading guilty to three counts of indecent assault and one of gross indecency on the first day of his trial.

Stowe was told he would likely die in prison unless the Parole Board freed him earlier on compassionate grounds.

Prosecutor Peter Cooper said Stowe, of Coventry, preyed on the girl, whose parents he knew, when he was alone in a room with her.

On one occasion he touched her intimately and on another occasion he exposed himself and got her to touch him.

Stowe then told her not to tell anyone because they would not believe her.

When police went to his home to arrest him, Stowe ‘made admissions that what he had done was wrong,’ but claimed he had touched her ‘but nothing else.’

Mr Cooper said: ‘He said it had happened only about twice, and that he wanted to tell her how sorry he was and to seek her forgiveness.’

Reading a statement in court, his tearful victim said the incidents had ruined her childhood, making her feel worthless and dirty, and had continued to affect her in her adult life.

Sentencing, Judge Sarah Buckingham told him: ‘You would have been in your 50s when this happened, and she would have been three, four or five.

‘You said in the police interview you wanted to apologise to her to her face. That apology is far too late. ‘The effect on her has been profound and long-lasting.

‘You did express some remorse when you were interviewed, but you did not plead guilty until the day of your trial.

‘Of course I have had regard to your extremely mature age, and that there is a very real prospect that you will end your days in custody.

‘But balanced against that is the obvious harm you have caused to her.

‘Only a custodial sentence can be justified. Your counsel has submitted it should be suspended. ‘I am afraid some offending, however historic, and however mitigated by your otherwise good conduct, is too serious for that.’

She said it was open to the Secretary of State, at any stage, to release him on compassionate grounds.

The judge added: ‘The Secretary of State does have the power at any time to release a defendant on compassionate grounds. ‘That is an avenue which may be open to the Secretary of State in your case.’