April 2008

Sex assault OAP walks free

A pensioner who sexually assaulted two schoolgirls has walked free from court.

James Archibald targeted the youngsters, one when she was just four and the other when she was six, almost twenty years ago.

He was finally brought to justice after one of his victims, both now young women, broke her silence and prompted the other to come forward.

But both women left court with a sense of injustice yesterday when Archibald, who admitted ten charges of indecent assault, was sentenced to a three year community order.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Archibald attacked his victims in the early 1990s.

One of the girls feared she would be “taken away” if she told her family what had happened to her.

And Archibald warned the other girl not to tell anyone, telling her “It’s our little secret” to keep her silent.

The attacks were not reported to the police at the time but Archibald did seek help from medics who prescribed him with bromide to control his sexual urges towards children.

He already had a previous conviction for an indecent assault dating back to 1978 for which he was given a probation order.

At the hearing yesterday Archibald’s two victims wept as their ordeals at his hands were outlined in court.

Judge Beatrice Bolton told the 72-year-old: “What you did to those girls was unforgivable, totally unforgivable.”

But the judge said if she imposed a custodial sentence Archibald would not receive the treatment or supervision he will under a communiyy order.

Speaking after the hearing both victims said they felt the justice system favoured offenders rather than the victims.

One, speaking on behalf of them both, said: “He should have been sent to jail and then given treatment and supervision once he got out, but it just doesn’t work like that.

“We both feel we have gone through all this, reliving all these horrors, for nothing.

“It seems to be all about rehabilitation, nothing about punishment.

“As victims we are just forgotten about while the justice system concentrates on the offenders.

“The only sense of justice we have is that now people know what he has done and he will go to his grave knowing he didn’t get away with it.”

Archibald, of Springwell Raod, Sunderland, must sign the sex offenders register for five years and was banned from ever working with children.