Lollipop man in child sex attacks

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A PENSIONER who was last year named "Lollipop Man of the Year" was yesterday convicted of sexually abusing four young children.

Ernest Donald, 72, who drove a bus for disabled children before becoming a lollipop man, hung his head as the verdict was read out in the Old Bailey, London yesterday.

The court heard that Donald, who denied all the charges, was so popular with parents and children in Fulham, London, that he easily won the 1998 Lollipop Man of the Year award.

But yesterday, the former Royal Artillery soldier was found guilty of 16 charges including indecent assault, indecency with a child and attempted rape between February 1994 and December 1998. Three girls and a boy, aged between six and 12, were subjected to his attacks. He will be sentenced on 20 September.

Karen Holt, for the prosecution, said: "He befriended three families and with some success he groomed some of their children and abused them sexually. He was seen as a grandfather figure by them and was welcomed into the family."

Donald babysat for the children and cooked them tea while their parents were at work. He also took them on trips to the seaside or to museums.

But while he was looking after them, he would force them to play "truth or dare" sex games, making them strip as part of the dare. He was arrested last December after one girl and her brother told their parents what had been happening. He was immediately suspended as a lollipop man.

Speaking via video link, one girl, who is now 11, said: "After being with him I felt really really dirty. It was as though I had been in a pigsty... now I know it is not my fault but I feel angry because I still let him do it."