March 2010

Sex attacker jailed nearly 40 years on

PAEDOPHILE who ‘skilfully’ groomed and then abused young girls has finally been jailed – nearly 40 years later.

Brian McMahon, now 61, was a young man of 23 when he began sexually assaulting children in Plymouth in 1971. By the time he stopped in 1984, he had attacked at least five girls aged 10 to 15.

One described McMahon as being “calm, unflustered and in control” while he was abusing her. Another said she was “instantly in fear” whenever she was left alone with him.

McMahon, of St Leo Place, Devonport, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing at Plymouth Crown Court to 13 counts of sexual assault.

He admitted specimen counts of assaulting one girl when she was 10 and 11 and a second girl when she was also 10 and 11. He pleaded guilty to six sexual assaults on a third girl when she was aged nine to 14.

A fourth girl was assaulted when she was 15, and McMahon also admitted two sex attacks on a fifth girl, when she was under 14. He pleaded not guilty to five further sex attacks on four of the girls.

Several of the victims, now middle-aged woman, wept in the public gallery yesterday as prosecutor Nick Lewin described the background to 13 years of repeated abuse and details of what McMahon had done to each of the girls.

Barrister Paul Rowsall, for McMahon, said his client had shown remorse by making early guilty pleas and sparing his victims the ordeal of giving evidence at a trial.

McMahon, who had no previous convictions, cautions or warnings, was thoroughly ashamed of his actions, he said. He had stopped the abuse in 1984 when he went to live with his current partner, who was in court and was standing by him.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC described the offences as terrible and said a report from the Probation Service indicated that McMahon’s remorse was superficial.

McMahon denied having any recollection of the offences.Judge Gilbert told him: “You are a highly- sophisticated offender with a well-developed skill in grooming.”He said the offences were “gross breach of power”.

He sentenced McMahon, who sat impassively throughout the hearing, to seven years in jail and ordered him to remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely. A spokeswoman for the victims said later: “We are all satisfied with the sentence.”This has torn us apart emotionally and brought back painful memories.

“McMahon is not remorseful; he doesn’t know what remorse means.”For the last 40 years, he thought he had got away with it.”This sentence doesn’t change what has happened to us, how it has affected us, the years of keeping our dirty little secrets.

“We believe there are other victims out there and we urge them to come forward and tell the police.”