July 2011

10 years’ prison for paedophile

A PREDATORY paedophile convicted of molesting two youngsters in attacks spanning a decade has been jailed for ten years.

Bristol Crown Court heard self-employed computer engineer Stephen Melhuish, of Willis Road, Kingswood, groped the girls when they were aged between eight and 15.

The 55-year-old had denied 29 indecent assaults, two charges of indecency with a child and one attempted rape involving one girl.

He also denied eight charges of sexual activity with a child, involving a second girl.

Melhuish was found guilty of 32 charges but cleared of eight indecent assaults on the direction of trial judge Michael Longman.

After returning their verdicts the jury were told Melhuish previously pleaded guilty to possessing extreme pornography, depicting bestiality.

Judge Longman told him: “These are grave offences.”

Melhuish, who was told he would serve half the term behind bars and then be released on licence, was ordered to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely and his computer was forfeited.

One victim’s uncle simply told the Evening Post: “Justice has been done.”

Detective Constable Andy Palmer, the police officer in charge of the investigation, said: “I think the sentence reflects the crime.

“This was a long, drawn out case and the two girls suffered for a number of years.

“Mr Melhuish has not admitted his guilt. I think he is in denial.

“The girls came over very well in giving their evidence and that reflected in the jury’s verdicts.”

James Ward, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that in December 2009 the two girls made disclosures to police about Mr Melhuish, culminating in disclosing historical sexual abuse when they were small children.

The youngsters described how Melhuish abused them when one girl was aged eight to 14 and the other was 13 to 15.

Melhuish would grope their private parts and tried to force himself on one child, the court heard.

Both girls gave victim personal statements in which they said the abuse had decimated their confidence and trust regarding relationships with men.

Louis French, defending, said: “I don’t seek to address your honour at any length. I’m bound by my instructions.”

Mr French said his client admitted having the extreme pornography and, as a man of hitherto good character, was devastated to be convicted.

He said: “He’s here with a bag. He’s had the courage to be here to face the music. I ask that your honour doesn’t crush him.”