December 1996

Man preyed on young girls

A PAEDOPHILE with a 20 year record began maximum jail terms on Wednesday last week for preying on young girls at a public swimming baths.

Widower Keith Griffiths, 62, was branded “manipulative and devious” by a judge and told he posed a serious threat to the public.

The sex fiend was caught last February carrying out sex acts in front of girls as young as four at Stretford Sports Centre.

His behaviour was so disgusting, an off duty policeman who spotted him while showering after a swimming session was left reeling.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Griffiths showed no emotion as he was given a maximum two year terms for two offences of indecency with children.

Judge Peter Lakin ordered they run consecutively.

“You have an unhealthy interest in young girls,” the judge told Griffiths. “As well as being a danger to the public you are manipulative and devious.

“These offences were as blatant as they were disgusting and it is necessary to protect the public from serious harm from you.”

The court heard Griffiths, of Oldfield Road, Stretford, had previous convictions for offences against children stretching back two decades.

After being freed early in June 1993 he was jailed for 12 months for keeping a disorderly house. In May last year he was given a nine month sentence for detaining a child without lawful authority.

His trial was told the latest offences were carried out while Griffiths was visiting the leisure centre as part of his weekly routine.

They took place in the men’s changing rooms while the girls were waiting for their fathers.

Griffiths was convicted after a three day trial. He denied all charges.

The judge told him: “You performed these acts to a cubicle of young girls between the ages of four and twelve in the changing rooms and also in front of a young girl in the showers.

“They took place in a public area, a leisure centre frequented by families.

“The off duty PC who caught you out described you as having tunnel vision as far as these children were concerned.

“Your behaviour was so focused on them that a mature police officer was embarrassed.

“You have shown no remorse and no concern for the obvious distress you have caused.”