February 2009

‘The worst case I’ve ever encountered’ – judge shocked by blind paedophile’s crimes

A blind paedophile who committed horrific sex abuse of children that shocked a judge has started a life sentence.

Malcolm Richards, convicted of 23 charges, will serve a minimum of 10 years before being considered for parole.

Judge James O’Mahony said the 43-year-old from Gillingham, who raped one girl and abused boys, had caused misery involving cruelty in the “dreadful” crimes.

He said: “There is no doubt this is the worst case I have ever encountered. It is not just sexual abuse, but cruelty to vulnerable and defenceless children.”

Richards’s partner, Alison Smith, who was forced to join in with his depraved acts, was jailed for three-and-a-half years. Judge O’Mahony said he accepted Smith would not have become involved if it were not for Richards being violent and manipulative.

The judge told Richards at Maidstone Crown Court: “There is no remorse. Over the years, you caused misery to children. You are a violent bully.”

He threw darts at a board as children were made to stand close to it. One dart hit a child. There were also violent rages and threats.

If a determinate sentence had been passed on Richards, it would have been 20 years, he added.

Both Richards and Smith, also from Gillingham, will be placed on the sex offenders’ register.