October 2016

60’s pop star from Bangor jailed for sexual abuse of a young girl

Sixties pop star Peter MacBeth, a member of The Foundations, was jailed for sexually abusing a young girl.

MacBeth, aged 79, of High Street, Bangor, was the founding member and bass player with the group until 1970 and enjoyed a worldwide hit with Build Me Up Buttercup.

But in 2008 he was jailed for sexually abusing a second young girl and downloading child sexual abuse images.

Today he was jailed for a total of 34 months and ordered to register as a sex offender indefinitely after a jury took little more than an hour to convict him of another sex assault on her friend.


The victim had been six or seven when he pulled down her underwear and fondled her, Caernarfon crown court heard.

After finding MacBeth guilty of indecent assault, the jury heard that he’d admitted more child porn charges after 95 images were found on two computers last year.

Urging the jury to clear him of the fresh sex charge, which he denied, defence barrister Duncan Bould  had said: “My suggestion is the evidence provided to you, unsupported by any other independent source, is inherently weak in this case and can’t make you sure of Mr MacBeth’s guilt.”

The complainant had told the jury while she was with the other victim at MacBeth’s then home he had pulled down her underwear and he “sort of tickled” an intimate part of her. “He told us we mustn’t tell anybody. He obviously knew what he was doing,” she said in evidence.

The complainant, now in her 20s, said MacBeth had been “grooming” them. He gave money to the children to go to a shop and gave her an arts set.

The mother of the victim in the previous case said her daughter’s friend had contacted her in recent years by phone.

“She could hardly speak. She basically told me he had abused her,” the woman told the jury in evidence.

“She was so upset. It was hard for the words to get out. She had a lot of memories that were very cloudy. It was very difficult for her to speak.”

The witness said MacBeth once put pound coins in his trouser pockets and asked the girls to remove them. He also had Polaroid photographs in his living room of the children. They were of “kid things that they do” such as silly faces.

Mr Bould asked his client in evidence: “Did you indecently touch either girl?”

MacBeth replied: “No, I did not sir.” He denied pulling down the victim’s knickers and tickling her.

He, however, recalled an occasion when he claimed the girls “both pulled down their jogging pants and started mooning at me and I told them off about that.”

MacBeth insisted he hadn’t sexually abused the victim in the previous case although he pleaded guilty. “At the time I was going through a lot of stress with my throat. At the time it wasn’t clear whether cancer had come back,”he explained.

He also maintained he had “lost confidence” in his lawyers at the time.

However, prosecutor Anna Pope alleged MacBeth was a man “who has a sexual interest in children.”

She said the previous convictions “show he’s prepared to act upon that interest upon a girl.” He hadn’t asked to change his legal team or pleas in the previous case and the barrister alleged MacBeth was lying to the jury.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told the jury to approach the case “dispassionately.” After the jury foreman announced that MacBeth was found guilty, the judge told the pensioner, who has had a tracheotomy :”It’s clear you have very little insight into your offending behaviour and you have no intention of addressing your risk to children.”

The fact it had taken many years for justice to be done was an aggravating feature.

Judge Hughes told the jury: “It’s a sad case in particular for those two young girls.”

June 2008

A sixties pop star jailed for child sex offences has won a two-year reduction in his prison sentence

Terminally-ill Peter MacBeth, now 71, founder member and bass player with chart-toppers The Foundations, was jailed for six years in March.

But judges in the Court of Appeal in London today (Friday) allowed his challenge to the length of his sentence, reducing it to four years.

MacBeth, of Trefriw, near Llanrwst, North Wales, had admitted sexually abusing a young girl and downloading child porn from the internet. Mold Crown Court heard he sexually assaulted a young girl four times, when she was seven and eight and later when she was 12 and 13, ending in 2005.

He was sentenced to a total of five years for the four indecency offences and a consecutive 12-months in relation to downloading pornographic images.

MacBeth, who was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in 2000 and has been told he has between three and five years to live, wasn’t present in court for the ruling by Lord Justice Scott Baker, sitting with two other judges.

Announcing the court’s decision, Lord Justice Scott Baker said: “We have come to the conclusion that, looking at this case from the viewpoint of totality, the sentence of six years imprisonment was significantly too long, taking into account all the circumstances.

“We think the right total sentence was one of four years imprisonment.”

He said: “It is, in our judgment, a matter of significance that the service of his time in prison will be that much harder for him to bear than someone, even of the same age, who is perfectly fit.”

March 2008

Ex-pop star jailed for child sex

Sixties pop star Peter MacBeth, a member of The Foundations who had a hit with Build Me Up Buttercup, has been jailed for child sex offences.

MacBeth sexually assaulted a young girl on four occasions over the course of six years and downloaded child porn from the internet, a court heard.

The 71-year-old from Trefriw near Llanrwst in the Conwy valley may die in prison because he has terminal cancer.

He was jailed for six years at Mold Crown Court by Judge John Rogers QC.

MacBeth was the founding member and bass player with the Foundations until 1970 and had a worldwide hit with Build Me Up Buttercup in 1968.

He later forged a career in publishing literature for European golfing competitions.

In his later life he worked as a bus driver but developed a tumour of the larynx in 2001.

In 2006 he received a tracheotomy which meant he lost his voice and he has been told he has between three and five years to live.

His defence team originally argued that his illness meant he could not have a fair trial.

MacBeth also claimed the sex allegations were lies and the downloaded images were for academic research.

But when it was ruled that he could stand trial MacBeth changed his pleas to guilty.

Simon Mills, prosecuting, told the court how there had been four instances of sexual assault on the girl, when she was seven and eight and later when she was 12 and 13, ending in 2005.

The court heard how he would give her alcohol, he also drank heavily and the last offence occurred in a wood while on a walk.

The girl said she would sniff petrol to escape from what he had done, the court was told.

After his arrest in June 2006, MacBeth told officers they would find images on his computer.

He was writing about a young boy being sexually abused, and said he did not feel he could write with conviction without seeing what it was all about, the court heard.

Around 500 images were found and Maria Massellis-Brookes, defending, told the court her client could not really explain or understand why he had downloaded the images.

She asked the court to show mercy on MacBeth because of his age and precarious health.

“It is fair to say that he has very little to look forward to in his life,” she said.

“His illness will be the death of him,” she said, adding there was a danger he would die in custody.

She asked Judge Rogers to extend him some mercy although MacBeth accepted he had to be punished for what were serious offences.

In sentencing MacBeth to five years for the four offences of indecency and a consecutive 12 month sentence for downloading child porn, Judge Rogers said he had taken into account MacBeth’s age, his previous good character and the fact he was suffering from a terminal illness.

“But that factor has very little weight compared to the damage you have done,” said the judge.

MacBeth was also placed on the sex offender register for life.