Febuary 2011

Pervert dubbed Al the Paedo by colleagues jailed for ten years after string of sex attacks on children

A predatory paedophile – dubbed ‘Al the Paedo’ by work colleagues – was jailed for ten years today after he filmed himself repeatedly abusing two young girls and hoarding 200,000 indecent images of children.

Alan Potbury, 38, carried out sickening sexual abuse on two six-year-old girls over a period of three years – attacking one victim he babysat for after befriending her parents.

Former deliveryman Potbury took pictures and filmed his horrifying sexual crimes on a mobile phone before downloading the footage onto his computer.

He was finally caught when the mother of one of his victims saw her daughter kissing her brother and explained that Potbury had shown her how to do it.

Police raided his home in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and uncovered almost 200,000 indecent images and movies stashed on mobile phones, DVDs and his computer.

Potbury admitted a total of 35 counts at Bristol Crown Court, including seven counts of assault on a child under 13 and five of sexual assault on a child.

He also confessed to 12 counts of taking photographs or movies of the abuse, as well eleven other counts of downloading thousands of child porn images and movies from the internet.

Jailing him for ten years, Judge Neil Ford QC told Potbury his catalogue of abuse had been a ‘flagrant and dreadful breach of trust’.

‘As they are young children it is impossible to presently assess the damage you have done to their development. But your activity is something they will have to deal with when they have an understanding of these matters. It was a significant ordeal for them.

‘I have read the impact statement from the parents and they say they have lost trust in humanity and talk of their self blame, although that’s not warranted, and their anger.

‘The other victim’s mother talks of anger, loss of trust and self blame. Again in her case it obviously was not her fault but that is of little comfort to her.    

‘Your behaviour demonstrated you have an attraction to young children, indeed very young children, which you find it difficult to control. Your offences constituted a dreadful breach of trust and the fact was that you took the opportunity to make explicit records, including movies, of your activities.

Bristol Crown Court heard Potbury was known by work colleagues as ‘Al the Paedo’ because of his crude and sexual comments about children and women when he made home deliveries.

The court heard bespectacled Potbury, who stared straight ahead throughout the two-hour hearing, had received a caution for indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 16 in 1993, while he babysat for her.

James Ward, prosecuting, said it was the Crown’s case that 1993 was the start of a period in Alan Potbury’s life that culminated in him abusing the two young girls.

Mr Ward said: ‘Alan Potbury came into the friendship circle of the household. As the friendship got stronger they would see him at least once a month – then once or twice a week.

‘The victim’s mother says she thought nothing of it and that Alan would often stay over on the sofa.’  Potbury’s babysitting duties became more frequent in 2010 when the girl’s mother started an evening course and her husband left the marital home.

Mr Ward told the court: ‘The victim’s mother says Alan would quite regularly read the child a bed time story or help bath her other two children.’  

Police found images and movies – complete with times and dates – of him abusing the youngsters at his home in  Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.  They also found near identical images and videos of him attacking another six-year-old girl back in 2007.

The footage had been burned onto DVDs and downloaded onto Potbury’s computer.

Officers also found a total of 190,031 other indecent images that the defendant had downloaded onto his machine from the internet between 2001 and 2010.

Of those abuse pictures, 121 were level five – the most serious abuse category there is. Over 100 child porn movies were also discovered – of which four were categorised as level five.

A statement read out by the prosecution on behalf of the devastated father of one of the victims accused Potbury of preying on his family – just so he could get his hands on his daughter.

He said: ‘I now firmly believe that Alan Potbury got close to my family to get close to my children. I thought it was my wife who he was interested in and not my children.’    

Police also investigated Potbury’s other hobby – as a volunteer for the coastguard – but the court was told there was no evidence of offending.  Derek Perry, defending Potbury, said he accepted his client could be facing a lengthy jail term and said he could not deny the crimes were ‘reprehensible’.

He claimed Potbury had suffered from Klinefelter’s syndrome – a sex chromosome disorder which meant he grew a breast as a teenager.

Mr Perry told the court that after having the breast removed, and being rendered infertile, his client suffered depression which may have driven him to commit the offences.

He also stressed that Potbury vehemently denied he had targeted women or families with young children.

As well as ten years in prison, Potbury was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and the material he collected was ordered to be destroyed.