September 2009

Molester may have assaulted more kids

A PAEDOPHILE from Derby who has been jailed for four years after he admitted indecently assaulting two young boys may have carried out other attacks on children.

Melvin Berridge, of Normanton, carried out the assaults in the early 1980s but was only arrested last year when both victims plucked up the courage to report the incidents.

Police now believe he may have abused more youngsters and have published this picture of the 60-year-old to encourage other victims to come forward.

Detective Constable Andy Spence, of Leicestershire Constabulary, who investigated the case, said: “There is a possibility that over the years Berridge has committed crimes against other children who are now adults.

“Any other potential victims may now feel the time is right to speak to the police. As this case demonstrates, it doesn’t matter how long ago an offence occurred, we can still prosecute those involved – and it’s with this in mind that the victims have supported the release of Berridge’s photograph.

“We know it can be very difficult to revisit something like this, particularly if it happened a long time ago. However, I would like to reassure anyone who is a victim of child abuse – historically or presently – that we promise to handle your investigation professionally and sensitively.”

The two victims, aged seven and nine at the time of the offences which took place in Leicestershire, reported the crimes to police in January 2008.

Following an investigation by police, Berridge was arrested in April last year.

He admitted at a previous court hearing in August carrying out the indecent assaults, and was jailed for four years at Leicester Crown Court yesterday.

The court heard the offences dated back to the early 1980s, when Berridge regularly assaulted the two boys over a one-year period.

Berridge, of Rosehill Street, was also given a sexual offence prevention order, which forbids him from visiting the home of or living with a child under 16 without informing their parents of his conviction, working with any child under the age of 16 or working in any place where a child under the age of 16 regularly visits.

DC Spence, part of the investigation team, praised the two victims for their strength in reporting the matter.

He said: “These two men have shown tremendous courage in coming forward to report these crimes and in helping to secure a conviction.

“They will hopefully now have some closure from this result and we’d like to help other people achieve this. If you recognise this man and want to speak to us then please get in touch.”

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to call             0116 222 2222       or Crimestoppers free and anonymously on             0800 555 111