December 2010

‘Social misfit’ fails in court bid to overturn child rape verdict

AN “inadequate social misfit” who repeatedly raped a young schoolgirl has had his claims he was wrongly convicted thrown out by top judges in London.

David George Partridge, 59, was jailed for 14 years in March after he was found guilty of three counts of rape by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

Partridge, of Globe Hill, Woodbury, appealed against his convictions yesterday claiming new evidence had come to light which cast doubt on the jury’s verdicts.

But three senior judges sitting at the Court of Appeal, were unconvinced, saying the new evidence was not central to the case, and dismissed his appeal.

Mr Justice Davis told the court the rapes took place in the 1990s, after Partridge lured the girl, who was younger than 10, to his house. He said he would hurt her if she screamed.

Michelle Clarke, for Roberts at the Court of Appeal today, said her client was “an inadequate social misfit” who had not helped his barristers during the trial.

She said fresh evidence, in the form of further witness statements, meant it was “in the interests of justice” that the convictions be quashed.

But Mr Justice Davis, sitting with Lord Justice Pill and Mr Justice Lindblom, said Roberts was communicative enough to have informed his lawyers of any more evidence at the time of his trial.

He told the court: “We have seen the proposed evidence, but it adds nothing of substance and it comes down to a statement that the appellant is not the type of man who could have done such a thing.”

He added: “In such circumstances we take the view that it cannot be in the interests of justice that this conviction is overturned at this stage.

“We take the view that there is no reasonable explanation not to have adduced this evidence at the trial…his legal team have clearly done everything they could on behalf of the appellant, but finality has to be brought.”

During the hearing earlier this year, prosecutor Andrew Oldland said Partridge’s first offences involved raping a youngster.

He would offer her sweets when he saw her, pay her attention and initially did not show any sexual interest in her. But he then found an opportunity to be alone with her, touched her under her clothes and raped her, as she tried to stop him.

Mr Oldland said the girl asked Partridge to stop but he warned her of serious consequences if she told anyone.

On the other charges, Mr Oldland said that the defendant had the confidence to abuse another youngster, having already “got away with it” with the other girl. The court was told she confided in an adult in 2008 and police were alerted.