November 2006

Life sentence for sex offender

A 43-YEAR-OLD man has been given a life sentence for sexually abusing children and women.

Mark Quinn, of Hamfield, Wantage, was sentenced after admitting eight counts of indecent assault on children, one of attempting to rape a child, three of raping women and one of actual bodily harm against an adult.

Detectives described it as one of the most complicated and disturbing cases of abuse on record after revealing Quinn sought out and befriended vulnerable victims.

The victims cannot be named for legal reasons.

Quinn received a life sentence for attempted rape of a child, another life sentence for raping a woman, 14 years for another rape of a woman, and six years for each count of child abuse. All the sentences are to run concurrently.

He must serve seven years before he can be considered for parole.

Quinn was arrested on Thursday, November 3, 2005, and charged two days later, following an inquiry involving Thames Valley Police’s child abuse investigation unit and the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire county councils.

Det Sgt Richard Woodley, who led the investigation, said: “Quinn is responsible for a number of sickening offences across Aylesbury Vale, Oxfordshire and parts of North Wales.

“He has sought out and befriended both young and vulnerable children in order to commit his crimes and I am delighted that he is now behind bars.

“This has been one of the most complex and disturbing child abuse and rape cases in recent years, particularly as his partner has also pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual abuse against a child.”

He added: “Public safety has been the overriding priority in this case and Quinn’s sentence demonstrates that the police and partner agencies will do everything in their power to bring dangerous sex offenders to justice.”

Quinn’s partner, Margaret Suthers, 43, of Lancashire, had previously admitted five counts of sexual activity with a child.

A woman who admitted sexually abusing a child with her partner has been spared jail.

Margaret Suthers was instead ordered to serve a three-year supervision order after admitting five counts of sexual abuse.

The 43-year-old woman was also ordered to be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

A judge heard that, together with her partner, Mark Quinn, Suthers molested a girl in October last year.

Jamie De Burgos, prosecuting, said Suthers was encouraged by Quinn while they were abusing the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Robert Spencer-Bernard, defending Suthers, said: “My client has made an effective confession to her friends and over a year ago, she made a full confession in interview about what happened.

“She pleaded guilty throughout her court appearances, so effectively pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.”

He told the judge: “It is very unlikely the offences would have occurred without Quinn.”

Judge Christopher Tyrer told Suthers that after reading reports, he agreed it was Quinn who influenced her.

He said: “You are a respectable woman with no previous convictions. I have seen cases similar to yours.

“This is one of the worst cases I have come across. I am convinced that without Quinn these offences would not have occurred.”

Judge Tyrer added: “You pleaded guilty from the very beginning and I give you what credit you are entitled to for that.

“There is also taken into account your early confession and you saved your traumatised victim from having to give evidence at a trial in court.

“You confessed to your friends, to police and to me. These written reports show your previous good character and that you would have given evidence against Quinn if you had to do so.

“It is absolutely vital you have access to a programme, which is precisely what you need.

“You will be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register. How long you will remain on it, I will decide in the future.”

Suthers, who lives in Lancashire, admitted five charges of sexual abuse of a child.