Oct 1999

Man, 68, jailed for sex offences on boys

A pensioner has been jailed for seven years for a series of sexual offences against young boys.

Kenneth Letch, 68, was told by a Chelmsford Crown Court judge the public had to be protected from people who preyed on children.

Over the past 24 years, Letch befriended boys aged around eight or nine who visited the caravan park where he lived at Althorne, near Maldon, for holidays.

His three victims used to visit him at his caravan and it was there where Letch indulged in serious sexual offences against the boys, Craig Rush, prosecuting, told the court.

His first victim was aged nine when Letch carried out his first indecent assault on the youngster in 1974. The assaults continued until the boy was aged around 14.

By that time, Letch had also carried out a series of indecent assaults on the boy’s friend after he invited him to his caravan. He too was aged around nine when he was first assaulted.

These assaults again continued until the boy was around 14 years old, Mr Rush said.

Letch’s last victim was in the same age group as the other two and the court heard how all the assaults nearly always followed the same pattern.

The boys would be invited to stay in Letch’s caravan and after gaining their trust, he would persuade them into performing obscene acts as well as indecently assaulting them.

In court, Letch, of Smugglers Club Ground, Althorne, admitted 14 specimen charges of indecent assault and indecency with children and three other specimen charges of serious sexual assault.

Mr Justice Nelson jailed him for seven years and told him he would stay on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

“These were serious matters which involved a breach of trust on your part and you remain a threat to the public,” the judge told Letch.

Patrick Mullen, mitigating, said Letch was a lonely man who was unsure of his own sexuality.