12-21-2016, 03:35 AM
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101-year-old Paedophile Jailed for 13 Years
| |A 101-year-old man has been jailed for 13 years for a string of sex offences against young children in the 1970s and 80s.
Ralph Clarke, a retired haulier, is thought to be the oldest defendant ever convicted in Britain.
Following a two-week trial at Birmingham crown court, a jury on Friday found the ex RAF-serviceman guilty of 17 offences of indecent assault, 11 of indecency with a child and two attempted serious sexual assaults.
Clarke, from Erdington, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to nine offences relating to a male victim partway through the trial, but he denied a further 21 counts of indecent assault and indecency against two girls.
During the sentencing on Monday, the judge, Richard Bond QC, told him: “You present as a fragile old man, however, what was plain to see was that, despite your guilty pleas, you have no remorse whatsoever.”
The great-grandfather had told the court he was “pretty well immune” to feelings when asked about the charges.
Due to his age, special provisions were made for Clarke during his trial. The court only sat between 9.30am and 1.30pm, so that the defendant could go home and rest, and he was allowed to sit at the back of the court room instead of in the dock.
Bond told the jury that, due to Clarke’s poor hearing, he would be speaking loudly with his intermediary during the trial.
“I invite, in fact I direct you, to ignore any such communications between Mr Clarke and the intermediary or with his barrister,” he said.
“The reason for that is that those communications are normally private but you are bound to hear them in this case for obvious reasons.”
Clarke’s victims, now all in their forties, came forward to the police after they saw his 100th birthday being celebrated by people on Facebook. All reported being abused in a workshop and the cab of his delivery lorry between 1974 and 1983.
Clarke, born in March 1915, replaces Gaston Pinsard as Britain’s oldest convicted paedophile. Pinsard was jailed for 18 months in 2015 for indecent assaults against young girls in the 50s and 60s.
DC Emma Fennon, of West Midlands police, described Clarke as “a hard man who had no feelings”. “He’s never once said sorry,” she said.
“I’ve never in all of my service met anybody who has affected me like Mr Clarke has. The very way that he speaks about the offences. His lack of care. He doesn’t feel that he’s done anything wrong.”
The judge told the court that the passage of time did not mean abusers would escape justice and that it was unlikely Clarke would ever be released.
“Those who were sexually abused even in the distant past can rest assured that any complaint will be treated with sympathy and compassion,” he said.
The Crown Prosecution Service said that while Clarke’s age and health were considered, the serious nature of his offences meant a prosecution was in the public interest.
A spokesman said: “Ralph Clarke used fear and intimidation to control the victims and sexually abuse them.”