February 2014

Jailed sex offender’s appeal bid fails

Michael Allfrey

A DISGRACED former church warden and parish councillor who was jailed for a string of sex offences against young boys yesterday failed in a Court of Appeal bid for freedom.

Michael Allfrey, now 71, of Hereford Road, Storridge, near Malvern, was jailed for four-and-a-half years last February after he was convicted of the sickening abuse of six youngsters.

This week, lawyers for the former Storridge Parish councillor argued that he has served enough punishment and that he should now be allowed to go home.

But three senior judges rejected the argument that the sentence, handed down at Worcester Crown Court, was too long.

“Four-and-a-half years was a heavy penalty for a 70-year-old with a substantial previous reputation, who had given much to society, but it was not manifestly excessive,” said Mr Justice Burton.

The Court of Appeal heard that Allfrey had appeared to be a “pillar of the community”, but lived a secret double life and was described by the sentencing judge as a “menacing predator”.

Six boys told of abuse, which included him touching their private parts underneath or over their clothing and trying to get them to get involved in sexual activity.

The abuse came to light when one boy complained to a teacher and Allfrey was arrested.

He denied all of the allegations – 11 sexual assaults and four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity – but was found guilty.

His barrister, Michael Birnbaum QC, told the appeal judges that Allfrey was taking his punishment and had decided to sit it out in his cell.

Serving his time in an open prison, he has been allowed to work in the garden, but has had disagreements with his tutor when he thinks he knows more than him, he said.

The QC also questioned the crown court judge’s statement that Allfrey was a “menacing predator”, arguing that the offending was sporadic.

And he said insufficient account had been taking of a series of vigilante attacks on Allfrey’s property, which have caused him financial loss and his family substantial distress.

“This is simply too long and the court can do its duty to this case and the public by quite a substantial reduction for a man who was in his early 70s and who had given a great deal of public service and still has a lot to offer the public when he is released,” said the barrister.

“There is no public interest to be served in his continued imprisonment,” he added.

But, giving judgment, Mr Justice Burton, who heard the appeal with Lady Justice Macur and Judge Richard Griffith-Jones, said there was nothing wrong with the sentence.

January 2013

Former churchwarden and councillor jailed for four-and-a-half years

A PARISH councillor has been jailed for the sexual abuse of young boys on his farm.

Michael Allfrey, 70, of Wildgoose Hill, Hereford Road, Storridge, was today sent to prison for four-and-a-half years after being found guilty of 11 counts of sexual assault and four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The offences, which the married father and former church warden denied, relate to the sexual touching of six boys, aged nine to 14, between 2005 and 2011.

Jonas Hankin, prosecuting, told Hereford Crown Court how the children and their families had been affected by the abuse.

Michael Allfrey

“Several of the boys’ behaviour in school since the incident has worsened and their grades have gone down,” he said.

“One of the boys’ mothers told me of how her son sits in bed crying, thinking this is all his fault, and that it is hard to convince him otherwise.”

Michael Birnbaum QC, defending, said Allfrey was “a man of good character” and that the abuse was occasional and opportunistic.

He added: “The service this man has given to his community is great – he has been a member of Storridge Parish Council for the past 36-years, nine of which he has been Chairman. He was a church warden for many years and many have told of his unfailing generosity.”

However, Judge Toby Hooper QC said Allfrey “carefully targeted” children he considered not to be a threat to him, and who no one would believe should they speak out.

Allfrey will be signed onto the Sexual Offenders Register and is now subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 10 years which will restrict him from having unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 who is not a blood relation on his land.

Detective Constable Dave Bentley, the officer who led the investigation, thanked all the victims and their families. 

He added: “I would also like to take the opportunity to encourage all victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and as this case shows, it is never too late to report such incidents.”