January 2019

Telford child sex offender, 76, too ill to be jailed

A Telford child sex offender has been discharged, as a court ruled he was too ill to go to prison.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court in October, Morton Hughes, 76, was found to have carried out historic indecent assaults on two children.

He was sentenced yesterday in his absence.

The court heard that Hughes, formerly from Wellington, is in hospital with Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative conditions, and was unfit to go to prison.

Judge Anthony Lowe assessed his options for sentencing the pensioner and found an absolute discharge to be the only sentence he could legally impose.

The offences, which happened between 1975 and 1981, included indecent assaults on a boy and a girl, gross indecency on a boy and inciting a girl to commit an act of gross indecency.

The Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 sets out circumstances where a court is restricted in its sentencing powers because of an offender’s disability.

The Act says that in such a case judges have three options: a hospital order, a supervision order or an absolute discharge.

As Hughes is already undergoing hospital treatment and would be unable to interact with a supervision order, Judge Lowe said an absolute discharge was the only option that remained.

He said: “I am satisfied that he is unfit to plead, unfit to stand trial and there is unlikely to be any improvement in his condition.

“I accept I can’t send him to prison and I also can’t impose a suspended sentence.

“The only sentence I can properly impose is an absolute discharge.

“He has gained from the fact that these matters came to light many, many years after they happened.

“I hope that his victims understand that the court has effectively been overtaken by events in this case.”

October 2018

Telford man sexually abused boy and girl 40 years ago

A Telford man sexually abused a boy and a girl in the 1970s and 1980s, a hearing has found.

Morton Hughes, 76, was found to have committed the offences between 1975 and 1981 at a finding of facts hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

The offences included indecent assaults on a boy and a girl, gross indecency on a boy and inciting a girl to commit an act of gross indecency.

Detective Sergeant Andy Dawson, who led on the investigation praised the victims in the case for coming forward.

He hopes that verdicts give confidences to other victims of historic sexual offences.

He said: “The investigation and subsequent finding at court has shown how seriously West Mercia Police and the Crown Prosecution Service take allegations of sexual offences, regardless of when they happened.

“These offences happened around 40 years ago and I would like to thank the victims in this case for their bravery and courage in coming forward after this time to report the offences to police.

“I hope the verdicts show that victims of sexual offences can come forward to police and have confidences we will listen to them and take appropriate action.

“I also hope that this will demonstrate to others that offenders will be brought to justice and be accountable for their actions regardless of their circumstances.” The hearing concluded on October 18.

Hughes, formerly of Meese Close, Wellington, will be sentenced at a later date.