Febuary 2000

Abuse scout leader jailed

Child abuse victims of cub scout leader Michael Tuck were “cheated” of a courtroom showdown when the paedophile pleaded guilty to a 17-year reign of sexual terror, writes Nick Evans.

Because the 53-year-old admitted a string of offences against children as young as six, the full evidence of his crimes was not heard in court.

And that has left some victims and their families furious. One angry mother told the Oxford Mail: “By pleading guilty he made sure they would never hear the whole story. There were lots more children who did not come forward.”

The mum, whose identity as the parent of an abuse victim cannot be revealed, added that her son felt “cheated” because he had not had the chance to tell the full horror of his story. Tuck, of Oxlease, Witney, befriended the families of all the children he abused while he was a cub scout leader near Wantage.

His confession covered six indecent assaults and six charges of indecency against a total of six different children – five boys and one girl.

Tuck’s abuse began in 1972 at the age of 26 and continued for 17 years before he finally sought psychiatric help.

But he wasn’t brought to justice until the girlfriend of one of his victims wrote to police cataloguing what she knew of the abuse – which included taking photographs of naked children.

A police search of his home revealed a number of items, including a diary of his abuse.

Prosecuting at Oxford Crown Court, Anthony McGeorge said Tuck bought the children presents and took them on day trips and camping holidays, which was when most of the abuse happened. Peter Greenfield, defending, said Tuck showed considerable remorse and realised the damage he had caused his victims. He added: “He did not befriend the families as a way of seeking out victims and he knew what he was doing was wrong and was trying to get help.”

Sentencing him to five years in prison, Judge Ian Kennedy told Tuck: “You won the confidence of parents who allowed you to take their children away and you took the opportunity to abuse them.”

Even after his release, Tuck will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

After the hearing, the father of one victim said Tuck should serve twice as long as the sentence handed down. And another mum said: “Tuck will come out and do the same thing again. I think they should lock him up and throw away the key. I don’t think it will ever go away – it certainly won’t ever leave me.

“When my son told me I was broken-hearted. He couldn’t settle and would lie awake at night and walk the floorboards.

“I feel guilty and keep asking myself, surely I should have known, I should have seen it. It just goes on and on.

“I hope my son will rest a bit easier now, and as long as Tuck doesn’t ever walk past my son he will be all right.”