Jan 1999

Sex pest gets six months

A pensioner with an “unhealthy interest” in a young girl has been jailed for indecently assaulting her.

Alfred Clark, 72, was with the 11-year-old at a Jaywick amusement arcade and a court heard how he was seen kissing her.

Clark also had his hand inside her top and Chelmsford Crown Court was told how the youngster, who was sitting astride Clark at the time, looked “uncomfortable”.

A judge told Clark, of Old Road, Clacton, that young people had to be protected. He was jailed for six months.

Judge Brian Watling QC said: “For a judge to have to sentence a 72-year-old man of good character, who has been convicted of an indecent assault on a girl of 11, is very unpleasant and very difficult.

“But children who attend amusement arcades and places of entertainment like that are very vulnerable and are easy targets for people who seek to indecently assault them.”

The judge added: “There must be a custodial sentence as a punishment to you and as a warning to others that if they interfere with children in these sort of places, they will go to prison.”

Apart from the jail sentence, Clark was told he had to be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years.

Clark had denied two charges of indecent assault on the girl at a trial last month. He was convicted on one charge and cleared on the other and sentence had been adjourned for reports.

The trial heard how a visitor at the Sun Spot amusement arcade, Jaywick, became concerned when the girl was seen sitting astride Clark. He was kissing her full on the mouth and fondling her.

“She looked very uncomfortable when this was going on,” Andrew Marshall, prosecuting, told the trial.

The jury heard how Clark was a frequent visitor to the arcade and was seen on several occasions with the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

And the court also heard how Clark threatened the youngster that he would tell police she had broken into his car if she complained.

After his arrest following the arcade incident on April 10, Clark denied any improper behaviour towards the girl. He told police he might have cuddled her on occasions but it was all perfectly innocent.

And when he was asked about his behaviour in the arcade he said the witness “had it in for him” and was not telling the truth.

Sally Freeman, mitigating, said Clark was not in good health and took a number of tablets and medication.

“He’s finding it difficult to come to terms with the jury’s verdict because he still denies the incident,” Miss Freeman said. “It was not the most serious of indecent assaults but it was aggravated by the age of the victim.”