Febuary 1999

Paedophile ‘groomed’ his tiny victim

LIVERPOOL Crown Court heard last week how a paedophile ‘groomed’ a three-year-old girl for his pleasure and took indecent Polaroid photographs of her to send to other perverts.

Peter Coverdale’s behaviour came to light when police investigating a paedophile ring raided the home of a Merseyside man and found obscene photos and letters. They also discovered a list of 54 names and addresses, including Coverdale’s, on a computer file. Officers then raided his Wallasey home.

Jailing Coverdale for a total of six years and three months, Judge Sean Duncan said that his behaviour brought shame to himself and horror to everyone unfortunate enough to be involved with the case.

“You wallowed, almost glorified, in these disgusting acts . . . and sending letters describing them and further fanciful ideas in a torrent of filth.

“The worst feature is that it is clear that you groomed and trained her.”

Judge Duncan added that Coverdale, at whose home police found a rifle and ammunition, also had worrying interests in the occult, Ku Klux Klan, the National Front and martial arts.

Prosecuting counsel Henry Riding told the court that in obscene letters 30-year-old Coverdale wrote to someone called ‘Dee’, he used a cipher to try to avoid identification, wore rubber gloves so that he left no fingerprints and used water rather than saliva, which could be identified through DNA testing.

Coverdale was almost physically sick when police told him that ‘Dee’, whom he thought was a woman who might have sex with him, turned out to be a 53-year-old man.

Some of the letters detailed his behaviour with the little girl and added that the photos could be distributed to others.

Coverdale, who was married, denied that he was a paedophile because he was not exclusively interested in children but had written that he saw nothing wrong in using children for sex, said Mr Riding.

He told the court that the child had been left badly affected by Coverdale’s acts, had exhibited inappropriate behaviour and was now receiving counselling.

Coverdale, formerly of Palermo Close, pleaded guilty to eight offences involving indecent assault, indecency and taking and distributing indecent photos.

He also admitted four offences involving possessing a Lee Enfield 303 rifle, 48 rounds of ammunition for it and 66 rounds of .32 calibre ammunition, offences which came to light after Coverdale, who has no previous convictions, told police the gun was in his loft.

Defence counsel Mr Ashley Barnes said that Coverdale’s greatest mitigation was his guilty plea. He had stopped committing the offences some months before arrest as he began to realise the extent of the damage he was causing. He is genuinely remorseful.