Children abused by soldier paedophile in ’70s still suffering, court hears

Swindon Crown Court

Swindon Crown Court

A PAEDOPHILE who groomed and abused two children in the 1970s has been jailed for nine years.

Former soldier Derrick Roberts first repeatedly molested a boy aged nine or ten when he, himself, was a teenager between 1969 and 1973.

The 63-year-old then turned his attentions to a six-year-old girl when he was home on leave from the forces towards the end of the ’70s.

And passing sentence a judge told him that the impact his abuse had on his victims had affected their whole lives for decades after.

Roberts, who denied the more serious allegations, was found guilty of all charges following a trial and branded a liar by the judge.

He admitted three counts of indecent assault on the girl denying three more as well as a three charges of gross indecency and two indecent assaults of a male.

The jury heard how he repeatedly molested the boy who was between the ages of nine and 12 when he was aged 15 to 19.

Roberts signed up for an army career which lasted 16-and-a-half years the abuse came to an end, but a few years later he turned his attention to the girl.

Over the year from August 1976 to the following summer he repeatedly molested the six-year-old, touching her inappropriately, when he lived on Cedar Close, Pinehurst.

When he was questioned by police Roberts, now of The Circle, admitted he had groomed and controlled the children before carrying out the abuse.

But he insisted he had never penetrated the girl and that what he did to the boy took place either at the lad’s instigation when he was older, or when he was also underage.

However a jury of six men and six women did not believe him and found him guilty of all eight charges he denied.

Tony Bignall, defending, said his client led an isolated and lonely life after coming out of the forces and had always been in work.

He said he served on the streets of Northern Ireland and in Germany, had no previous convictions and was not in the best of health.

Jailing him Judge Robert Pawson said his account of what happened with the boy was ‘lies on your part, and at best a fantasy’.

He told him: “There has been a significant impact. Your abuse of him reduced him to a shy teenager. You affected his marriage.

“It just shows the impact of sexual abuse on children. It is not something that ends when you left the bedroom: it has gone on for years, decades in fact.

“Fortunately for him you joined the army and weren’t about any more in 1970 or 1971. In 1976 you must have been back home and then started to abuse the girl.

“It was her courage, and it must have taken enormous courage from that woman, that led to your exposure as a paedophile

“She had found that through the course of her life she is unable to sustain physical relationships and therefore intimate relationships.

“She said she only really felt safe away from Swindon. She felt unable to have children for the fear of being unable to protect them in the way her parents couldn’t protect her.

“She has had to live with that secret for forty plus years. She describes it as, and I quote: ‘a terrible toll’.

“There is some glimmer of hope they will feel better for having spoken up: she says that she does.”

An NSPCC spokesperson for South West England said: “With these horrific attacks taking place several decades ago, Roberts may have thought he had got away with them but, thanks to the bravery his victims have shown in coming forward and giving evidence, justice has finally been served.

“As this case shows, abuse ruins childhoods and affects victims into adulthood.

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