Jan 2003

Paedophile jailed

A Crown Court judge has heard of the terrible consequences suffered by two little girls after a decision not to prosecute a Newcastle Emlyn man accused of indecent assault.

A five year old girl complained in October 2000, that Matthew Hall, 28, had indecently assaulted her in a car while pretending to play a game with her.

The girl’s parents became so concerned about what she said had taken place that they moved away from the area.

Paul Thomas, prosecuting, explained that while Hall was arrested his continued denials placed the authorities in a situation where they had to decide if there was a ‘realistic’ prospect of gaining a conviction. Because of the girl’s age, a lack of witnesses or other corroborating evidence, the decision was taken not to bring Hall to court.

But the girls had been telling the truth and on Tuesday Hall, of Pentop, Capel Iwan, was jailed for three years not only for the assault on her but for assaults on two other little girls carried out afterwards.

He admitted all the assaults, and to downloading a ‘large number’ of indecent images from the Internet onto his computer, including photographs of adults having sex with children. Judge Michael Burr told Swansea Crown Court Hall had ‘successfully diverted’ the earlier attempt to prosecute him. And he noted that Hall had carried on despite his ‘warning’. Mr Thomas said the offending came to an end after a young girl from the west country visited her grandmother in west Wales during the summer.

On her return she told her mother she had been indecently assaulted by Hall and the information was passed back to Dyfed. Her grandmother approached the family of another girl, aged 7, and when they questioned their daughter she made similar allegations.

When the police were called in this time the original complaint was re-activated. Hall at first seemed to admit he needed help but in formal police interviews continued to deny the allegations, even accusing the victims’ parents of ‘putting their children up for it’.

But by then Hall had attempted suicide and during a spell in the West Wales General Hospital had told a psychiatrist of his interest in young girls.

Mr Thomas said the allegations reached the ears of Hall’s mother, sister and girlfriend, and when they questioned him he made certain admissions.

Eventually, he accepted what he had done and the court was told he now looked forward to undertaking a sex offenders course.

The court heard Hall served 18 months in the army before suffering and injury and went on to become part of the crew of the Jordan Grand Prix racing team in Oxford. He then returned to west Wales where he worked as an odd job man.

His barrister, Frank Phillips, said as a child Hall had been both sexually and physically abused by his own father, who had been jailed for the offences.

He still bore the scars, said Mr Phillips, and the attempt at suicide had been genuine.

Judge Burr said the assaults were serious and the downloaded images unsavoury and depraved. As to the photographs, Judge Burr said it was well that members of the public understood that downloading and storing such images would itself attract a custodial sentence.

Hall was ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He was also banned from taking a job in the future, which would mean working with children.