* ADDED 2012 : This restaurant is no longer owned by Diamond.

October 2010

Sex pest dared victims to strip

A PAEDOPHILE restaurateur got four young girls drunk and plunged them into a “sordid adult world” by photographing them naked in his bistro.

James Diamond, owner of the Rats Castle, in Faringdon, “ripped away what should be an innocent and carefree time” in his victims’ lives, Oxford Crown Court was told on Friday.

The 63-year-old, who ran the restaurant for more than 25 years, recorded 656 video and still images as he dared girls as young as 13 to strip in his restaurant.

He was sent to prison for one year.

One victim’s father said the sentence was far too lenient.

Nigel Daly, prosecuting, said Diamond’s four victims, who were all under 16, were plyed with alcohol before being dared to flash or strip naked over a period of months.

He posed the girls for nude photographs while telling them he knew someone who could get them into modelling.

Mr Daly said Diamond, who had also taken a large number of provocative photographs of women over 18, told the girls they were boring if they showed reluctance to strip.

He told one of them “what goes on at the Rats Castle stays at the Rats Castle”.

When the offences came to light in May, police found CDs labelled with girls’ names hidden in the living quarters above the restaurant.

When interviewed by detectives, Diamond admitted taking the pictures and videos but said he did not realise how young the girls were and believed 16 was the age at which they could be photographed naked.

A victim impact statement from the mother of the youngest girl said her daughter suffered nightmares and was “scared and damaged, living in fear of seeing Mr Diamond again”.

She added: “His actions have ripped away what should be an innocent and carefree time in my daughter’s life and he’s forced her into a sordid adult world.

“She is a shadow of her former self.”

Lucy Tapper, defending, said: “It is, on any analysis, absolutely wrong what took place. Nobody would be more willing to admit that than Mr Diamond.

“He was not at the time in his right mind and believes he was going through some kind of minor breakdown, which he started to experience after coming back from a foreign trip.”

She said her client was now about £100,000 in debt and intended to leave the area to live in Bournemouth and care for his ‘surrogate’ father, who is ill.

Diamond had admitted four charges of taking indecent images of a child, four of making indecent images, one of possessing indecent images and one charge of sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 and 15.

The Recorder, Alper Riza, ordered Diamond to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and banned him from working with children for life.

He said: “You used alcohol in order to fool young girls.

“Not only that, you were both ruthless and manipulative, and you were exploitative.”

Outside the court, one victim’s father called the sentence “far too lenient” and added: “It has had a devastating effect on my daughter. Everybody trusted him and he abused that trust.”