78-year-old convicted of child sex attacks dating back 60 years

 

A former serviceman was today found guilty of sexually assaulting four young girls.

Reginald Davies, 78, committed the offences between 1949 and 1973 in what is believed to be one of the oldest criminal cases in UK legal history.

The Welshman was convicted of 13 offences, including rape, over the 24-year period in South Wales.

Two of his victims broke down in tears as the verdict was read out at Kingston Crown Court.

During the trial, prosecutor Hanna Llewellyn-Waters said Davies "preyed on the innocence" of the four girls, leaving them to carry the burden for the rest of their lives.

"You relied on their fear that they would not be believed and told them that they would be taken away from everything they loved," she added.

The former miner, who was extradited from Western Australia in September last year, told the court that the four women - who cannot be named for legal reasons - were in "collusion" and lying.

The pensioner was arrested last July at his adopted home of Wanneroo on Australia's west coast after the allegations were reported in the UK in 2008.

He was found guilty of two charges of child rape, two charges of attempted rape, eight counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child. He was cleared of one charge of child rape and one charge of attempted rape.

Davies served with the Royal Engineers and the Royal Dragoons before leaving the Army in 1957.

Judge Susan Tapping said Davies - who has been living in Hertfordshire with his wife - would have to sign the sex offenders' register, and adjourned sentencing until Friday.

After the verdict, Mark Kimsey, defending, told the court Davies suffered from problems with his kidneys and blood pressure.

He said he intended to mention his client's age and health issues during mitigation.

Judge Tapping told him: "I will await your submissions as to how much discount - of what would otherwise be a very substantial sentence - he is entitled to."

Mr Kimsey also described the defendant and his wife as "inconsolable". He asked for his client to be bailed until sentencing to allow him to "get his house in order".

But the judge replied: "In the circumstances, the defendant will be remanded in custody for sentencing on Friday morning."

Davies, of Esbies Estate, Sawbridgeworth, near Bishop's Stortford, committed some of the offences when he was 15.

Hilary Ryan, senior Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer, said: "This is one of the oldest cases of historic sexual abuse and rape ever prosecuted by the CPS, dating back to 1949.

"I hope this conviction serves as an important message to people who have been the victim of crimes such as these that they should come forward regardless of when the offence occurred.

"The CPS will work closely with partners to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

"Davies' prolonged campaign of sexual abuse and rape against these women, who were just children at the time, carried on for more than 20 years. The emotional impact on his victims is impossible to quantify.

"The CPS worked closely with the police in Britain and authorities in Australia to extradite Davies to face trial and today a jury has ensured that he will face justice for his crimes.

"I would like to pay tribute to the victims in this case and their strength in coming forward after so many years. This has clearly been a difficult time for them, but I hope this successful conviction provides them with some comfort."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'