April 2010

84-year-old man jailed for sex offences

An 84-year-old man has been jailed for nine years after being convicted of 18 sexual offences, including attempted rape, against young girls which a judge said were “appalling”

Albert Pearce, of Eastend, Stoke St Michael, was told his young victims would never fully recover psychologically from the effects of what he did.

Recorder Rosaleen Collins told him: “I have seen the impact statements  and I am not going to repeat what they said, but I take full account of the harm you have caused in sentencing you.”

During a trial at Taunton Crown Court a jury was told Pearce committed the first offences more than 50 years ago and the most recent in 1999. They involved indecent assault, indecency with a child and attempted rape.

The court heard the girl most seriously abused did not feel able to make an official complaint until two years ago.

Passing sentence, Recorder Collins said: “Many people feel a sense of guilt because of what happened and they shouldn’t. The only person who should feel any guilt is you. It’s not another’s fault you committed these offences. No one could have suspected what you did”.

She continued: “The sentence cannot fully reflect the harm you have done and the seriousness of the offences.

“I have no doubt that a sentence of imprisonment will affect you more harshly than other offenders because of your age and frailty and because you will be wrenched from your home. I know that will be extremely harsh on you.”

Pearce, a grandfather who has hearing and sight problems, had loudly commented “rubbish” at various allegations made during his four-day trial.

His defence counsel, Rebecca Bradberry, told the court he continued to deny the offences but was prepared for custody.

“It will be an alien environment”, she added.

He did not give evidence, having told police the girls had been “put up to it”.

Ian Dixey, prosecuting, suggested he should be  banned from being in the same house as a child under 16 without supervision, but the judge said he would be under some sort of care when he is released from prison and an order was not necessary.

Pearce was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.