August 2010

Twisted world of the Bristol child torturer jailed for 18 years

A FORMER soldier systematically raped and tortured young children during an 11-year period.

Described by a judge as a ”cruel and predatory pervert”, he was yesterday jailed for 18 years.

Trevor Ward, from Fishponds, preyed on a number of children between the ages of four and 13. He forced some of his victims to drink detergent and made others hold up heavy objects in the crucifix position.

Ward, 49, of Willow Grove, initially branded his investigating police officer a “liar and a scumbag” when the allegations were first put to him, but he pleaded guilty to three rapes, indecent assault and five charges of having sexual activity with a child when he appeared in court.

At Bristol Crown Court, Judge Mark Horton told him: “It’s quite plain that you are a cruel, dangerous and predatory pervert from whom society, and in particular children, need to be protected.

“It would be hard to describe or quantify the quite appalling damage that you have done to these children.

“You have undoubtedly stolen their childhood.”

Ward was ordered to register as a sex offender for life and banned from working with children for life.

He asked to address the court after being sentenced but his request was turned down. As he was led away, he turned to the packed public gallery and swore.

Ward’s victims did not wish to speak after the hearing and Detective Constable Richard Barnston, the policeman in charge of the case, said they just wanted to move on and repair their lives.

He told the Evening Post: “In 23 years of being a detective I’ve never met such a vile paedophile as him.

“He asked for no mitigation on his behalf in court and I’m pleased he pleaded guilty to all the offences.

“The victims are all damaged and that can’t be measured.”

James Ward, prosecuting, said the children’s sexualised behaviour indicated they had been victims of sexual offences and, gradually, they related what Ward had done to them and the police were involved.

Some of his victims were raped or groped, the court heard, while two others were sexually assaulted.

Ward was abusive when the allegations were put to him and denied them all, the court heard.

The court was told that because his offending ended just four days before the law was changed, he didn’t qualify for dangerous offender provisions which would have allowed the judge to impose an indeterminate prison sentence.

Ignatius Hughes QC, defending, said Ward had declined to be interviewed by a probation officer or a psychiatrist to allow reports to be drawn up about him.

He said: “I have specific instructions not to advance any mitigation on his behalf.

“Therefore we have nothing to say on his behalf and it is for the court to assess the seriousness of the offending and the appropriate sentence.”

Avon & Somerset police yesterday refused to release a photograph of Ward.

Darren Bane, spokesman for the force, said: “We are not issuing his photo because of the negative impact it would have on his victims.”