November 2008

Ten years jail for paedophile

A paedophile who abused young boys and girls for more than two decades has been jailed for ten years.

Between 1977 and 1999 Leslie Bennett, 61, of Watford, committed a number of sexual offences against children in Sandy, Watford, Stevenage, Surrey and Alicante, when he moved to Spain in 1988.

The five victims were boys and girls all aged between seven and 15 years old and the abuse went on for a number of years for each child.

On September 19 Bennett pleaded guilty to ten offences against his victims. These were five offences of indecent assault on girls under the age of 14, three offences of indecent assault on boys under the age of 14 and two offences of gross indecency against boys under the age of 18. He was sentenced to ten years in jail at St Albans Crown Court on Thursday.

Detective Constable Jo Goodson, of Hertfordshire Police, said: “This is a really positive result and would not have been possible without the courage and determination of the victims and their families through this lengthy investigation.

“I would like to thank them for all their help and hope today’s sentence brings them a sense of closure to all this.

“The sentence is also due to the hard work and dedication of our highly skilled officers who work in the Local Crime Group in Watford bringing Bennett to justice. Today’s result shows how seriously we take offences of this kind and that offenders will be dealt with robustly.

“Leslie Bennett is a serial abuser who preyed on children and young teenagers. Due to the prolific nature of these offences, we believe there may be other victims out there.

“Whether they are in the UK or Spain, we would strongly encourage them to come forward. They and their families will be given support and help every step of the way.”