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

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers