Aug 2007

Child rapist can go free says judge

A MAN who admitted to a court he raped three children in Tilbury has escaped a jail sentence.

John Herbert, 65, pleaded guilty to the systematic rape of three children in the Sixties in Tilbury.

The matter had been due to go to trial at Basildon Crown Court, but Herbert changed his plea at the last minute, sparing the women from giving evidence.

Herbert was handed an eight-month suspended sentence, given a six-month supervision order and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs. Judge Christopher Mitchell, sitting at Basildon Crown Court yesterday, explained prison was not an appropriate punishment for Herbert.

He said: “All the (three women) were seeking was a word which is used often today, which is closure.

“In your case no proper purpose would be served by you serving an immediate sentence.”

The court had heard the women were children at the time they were subjected to the sexual offences and are now aged in their late 50s.

Judge Mitchell told Herbert he may have been cleared had he not confessed to the crimes.

He said: “You have honestly said you did these things.

“Had you pleaded not guilty there is a good chance you may have been acquitted.”

Herbert, now of Ruskin Road, Chadwell St Mary, will be put on the sex offenders’ register for the next ten years.

He told the court he plans to sell his home and leave the area.