Febuary 2012

Mum’s disgust over sex offender

THE mother of a young boy who was sexually assaulted by a family friend says she is disgusted with the ‘appalling’ justice system after his attacker was treated with an ‘unbelievable’ level of dignity.

It took six months and eight court dates for sex offender Neville Heyworth to be sentenced, even after he pleaded guilty to two charges of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13.

The 81-year-old, of Walliscote Road, Weston, admitted touching the child intimately while the boy visited his home last June and then trying to put his hands under his victim’s shorts.

The youngster’s mother has this week told the Mercury how sentencing at Bristol Crown Court had been repeatedly delayed for medical reports and mentions amidst claims over Heyworth’s medical fitness.

The sex offender was eventually given a three-year-community order on Friday and will be supervised by the Probation Service for that length of time.

He will also be forbidden from coming into contact with children aged under 16 indefinitely and be required to sign on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

The victim’s mother said: ”It is unbelievable that he could be treated with such dignity.

“As things were dragged out, I felt like the whole story of what happened and the impact it had caused was being lost.

“Neville Heyworth is near the end of his life and my son is at the beginning of his.

“This was serious stuff, but it became about how he was, rather than what he had done.

“The courts called him ‘sir’ when he did appear, which was only twice, and on one occasion they told him he didn’t even need to stand in the dock.”

Heyworth pleaded guilty to the offences in August and the victim’s mother says she expected him to be sentenced the following month.

But she then experienced delay after delay after the courts continually adjourned the case, much to her family’s distress.

She added: “In the beginning there was rage and as a mother my animal instinct kicked in.

“As time went on I ended up ringing the Samaritans and on my way home from work I would find myself doing 100mph and wanting to smash my car into the wall of his garden.

“The justice system is supposed to protect us, but Neville Heyworth was the one who was protected for so long.

“I cannot stress enough how my faith in the police kept me together.

“But personally I just feel disillusioned with the rest of the appalling justice system.

“Sexual offences have a massive impact on people’s lives and to know an old man put his hands on my child and could be treated like that is simply unbearable.”