December 2011

Convicted sex attacker locked up indefinitely

A CONVICTED sex offender has been locked up indefinitely after being found guilty of abusing a young child – months after being freed from jail.

Melvin McFadden, 61, will be released from his latest sentence only when Parole Board officers are convinced he is no longer a danger to young children.

If he is ever freed, the former lorry driver will be banned from going near schools and playgrounds as part of a sexual offences prevention order.

The order will also prevent him from having unsupervised contact with under-16s and from living or staying in the same house as children.

A judge told McFadden he considered him a grave risk to children and that he needed to be locked up indefinitely for the public’s protection.

McFadden received a nine year prison sentence in 2004 for abusing four children – one who was aged only seven – and was released on licence in September last year.

His licence – a breach of which would have meant an instant recall – expired in late June and within days he had started grooming his latest victim.

He befriended the youngster’s mother, and convinced her that he was innocent of the earlier crimes, Teesside Crown Court heard during a trial this week.

The divorcee won the child’s affection with days out, cookies and cuddly toys, and treated the child’s mother and partner to pub meals and drinking sessions.

He denied ever touching the child, and claimed the child had been persuaded to make the allegations because the parents thought they could win compensation.

A jury of six men and six women yesterday found him guilty of sexual assault on a majority of ten to two after deliberating for just short of three hours.

Judge Peter Fox was damning in his assessment of McFadden, of Salisbury Crescent, West Cornforth, County Durham, and his potential risk.

He said it was lucky that the child confided in a teacher and grandfather within days of the abuse starting, otherwise his offending would have escalated.

“It had begun with grooming and, in my view, inevitably, had it not been stopped when it was, would have gone on to be far worse for the child,” said the judge.

“It is fortunate, indeed, and particularly for the child, that what had happened was disclosed. This was, I infer, the beginning of more serious conduct on your part.

“You are a very real danger to children and there can be no alternative, but that I pass a sentence which is an indefinite sentence and one for their protection.”

Joanne Kidd, mitigating, said although McFadden had told the child not to tell anyone about what he was doing, he had never been violent or threatening towards the child.

October 2004

Driver jailed for sex attacks on girls

A LORRY driver was yesterday jailed for nine years for a string of sex attacks on young girls over a 13-year period.

Melvin McFadden, 54, was told his crimes were “grave offences” and the sentence should be a deterrent to him and others tempted to carry out similar attacks.

Father-of-three McFadden, of Bishop Auckland, County Durham, was also disqualified from working with children and ordered to register on the sex offenders’ register on his release.

Teesside Crown Court heard how he assaulted the six girls in various parts of the country between 1989 and 2002. At the end of a two-week trial yesterday, he was found guilty on unanimous verdicts of four indecent assaults and one gross indecency.

Majority verdicts of guilty by ten to two were reached on two indecent assaults, having sex with a girl under 13, and gross indecency, while an 11 to one majority was reached on an indecent assault.

McFadden was found not guilty of a further gross indecency, while the jury failed to reach a verdict after more than ten hours on charges of gross indecency and indecent assault.

Deborah Sherwin, prosecuting, offered no further evidence on the outstanding two charges, and Judge John Walford ordered that formal not guilty verdicts should be recorded.

After the case, Detective Ser-geant Brian Wilkes, who led the investigation, said McFadden targeted the young and vulnerable.

He said the victims and their families were delighted with the verdicts and the sentence.

“It is the end of a traumatic period of their lives,” he said. “They are now able to move on.”

Defence barrister Tim Roberts, QC, had asked the judge to take into account, when sentencing, McFadden’s age and his high blood pressure.

As some of the guilty verdicts were announced, there were sobs and cries of “no” from members of McFadden’s family.

The court had heard how McFadden, of South Church Road, offered the girls cash for sexual favours. A number of the attacks took place when he took the youngsters for rides in his heavy goods lorry or in his car.

McFadden was initially arrested in July 2001, following a complaint from one of the girls after she stayed at his home.

He denied any inappropriate behaviour and no action was taken.

Later, after more allegations came to light, McFadden told police that two of the girls had a vendetta against him and said their claims had been made up