Paedophiles spared jail because of their age
A steward at Windsor Castle was given a suspended prison sentence today for grooming and abusing a young boy 25 years ago.
Ross Thomas, 76, from Nixey Close, Slough, Berkshire, pleaded guilty to gross indecency with a child and indecent assault at Portsmouth Crown Court.
His co-defendant, Leonard Bennett, 76, of Shaftesbury Road, Gosport, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to the same offences and a third charge of indecent assault.
They were sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment for each charge to run concurrently, suspended for two years.
Judge Ian Pearson ordered them to sign on the sex offenders' register for 10 years and disqualified them from working with children for life.
He also ordered them to pay £1,000 compensation to their victim.
The court heard that the offences dated back to an 18-month period between November 1984 and May 1986 when the victim was aged between 11 and 12.
Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said that the victim was targeted by the two paedophiles after he joined a gun club in Gosport.
She described how he was abused in various places including public toilets and the foreshore in a local park.
She said that the abuse "affected his behaviour at school, it affected his perception of himself and he used coping mechanisms that got him in trouble at school and caused him difficulties for some considerable time".
Sentencing the pair, who Judge Pearson described as "Portsmouth's oldest paedophiles", he said: "What you did in relation to the victim was very serious.
"You did groom him and you did indecently assault him over the period of some months and exploited his vulnerability."
Judge Pearson added that he had suspended the prison terms because he considered the pair no longer to be a threat to children because of their old age.
The court heard that Thomas, who suffers from diabetes, had been invited to take up the position as a steward at Windsor Castle as he was a regular visitor following his retirement in 1997.
The court was also told that he would now have to leave the position because he has contact with children in the role.
Woolwich terror attack: Suspect Michael Adebowale saw friend 'literally sliced to pieces' in 2008
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Unrest may spread across Europe, warns Red Cross chief
EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 5 Farewell, Shameless. Your heirs have work to do
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.