January 2010

WANSTEAD: Child Rapist ex-teacher abandons conviction appeal

THE wife of a former teacher jailed for 12 years for rape wept in court today as his appeal against conviction was abandoned.

Jerome Uche, 51, of Deynecourt Gardens, Wanstead, appeared at the Court of Appeal today and successfully had his sentence reduced by two years but did not pursue an appeal against convictions for rape, indecent assault and attempted rape.

Speaking on behalf of the ex-technology teacher, barrister David Emanuel said: “I submit that when one looks at the sentences, the judge was a little on the high side.

“Here was a man who was a teacher for 25 years with an unblemished record. He’s a family man with four children and a prominent member of his local church.

“These offences came to light in 2006 and there has been no suggestion of repeat offending.”

The appeal against conviction was abandoned after the trial judge’s direction to jurors to draw negative inferences from Uche’s silence when police interviewed him was deemed sound.

Uche was found guilty in 2008 of raping a teenage girl who came to stay at his family home on various occasions between 1991 and 1995.

On one occasion, he abused her as she slept in the bottom bunk of a bed while other children slept in the bunk above.

He also raped her on his living room floor and on a third occasion, he took her to another person’s flat where he got her drunk on Bailey’s and raped her again.

His second victim, a middle-aged woman, was able to fight him off before he could rape her and Uche was found guilty of indecently assaulting and attempting to rape her.

Now grey-haired and appearing thin and tired, the father-of-four kept his eyes on his family throughout the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.

His wife burst into tears in court as it was revealed he would remain in jail.

Altering Uche’s sentence, Mr Justice Beatson said: “There is some quite pressing personal mitigation.

“There’s no doubt that for a man of 51 to face a 12-year sentence is a very considerable burden for his family as well as himself.

“We must recognise the gravity of the offending and balance that with mitigation.”

Uche will now serve a total of 10 years in jail, with an eight-year sentence for offences relating to his first victim to run consecutively with a sentence totalling two years for his second victim.

He has been placed on the sex offenders’ register and has also been banned from working with children under 18, meaning he cannot see some of his children.

A conviction for inciting a child to commit gross indecency was quashed on January 13 as it could not be proved the alleged victim was under 14 at the time.