January 2017

Mother who sexually abused young son spared jail

A son sexually abused by his own mother as a child has spoken out after she was spared jail, saying: ‘She’s dead to me.’

The victim said his life has been ruined after his mother Linda Denham-Larholt, now 67, exploited him as a young boy.

He was barely a teenager when she forced him to touch her breasts while pretending to comfort him in her bed, a court heard.

She preyed on him while his late step-father John was away in Saudi Arabia.

Andrew, now 44, who has waived his anonymity to speak out, told The News: ‘I want to think of her as being dead.

‘I don’t care what happens to her. I’m not going to give her that any more.

‘I’ve got to let go and just move on and be an orphan, it’s better that way. It has seriously screwed me up.

‘I hate her for what she’s done.’

At the Portsmouth Crown Court trial, prosecutor Rufus Taylor said the pair had an ‘odd relationship’.

The court heard when Andrew asked his mother why he had no memory of his childhood and if he should see a counsellor, she said: ‘They’d probably just say that you were sexually abused.’

Andrew had previously told police in Hampshire about the abuse.

But he was dealt a hammer blow when police said ‘a jury would never believe a mother would do such a thing to her son,’ Andrew said

The court heard she was visited by police in 1999 and denied the allegations but was not interviewed.

Hampshire police has since said the force has no record of this but officers are now aware of how to deal with allegations.

It was only in 2015 he went back to the force, which launched an investigation.

Sussex Police later took over.

Yesterday a judge handed Denham-Larholt, of Bartons Road, Havant, a six-month jail term suspended for two years with a one-month curfew and electronic tag.

Recorder Michael Vere-Hodge QC ordered her to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years after she was convicted of indecency 
with a child at a trial last month.

The judge said he imposed a sentence ‘on the basis of an isolated incident of incitement to commit an act of gross indecency’.

Addressing the defendant, he said: ‘On one occasion you encouraged, or your son was already in your bed for comforting, and you incited him to feel your breasts.’

He added: ‘It doesn’t need me to emphasise that this is highly unusual for a mother to commit such an offence on her own son.

‘And, of course, it brings naturally considerable public distaste and condemnation.’

He added the crime was ‘bad enough’ but not of the ‘worst kind’ of indecency.

Denham-Larholt, who denied all the charges, was cleared of indecent assault against her son when he was a child and another charge when he was an adult.