June 2022

Sentence increase for St Albans theatre stalwart jailed for paedophilia

A St Albans playwright jailed following the rape and sexual assault of a schoolgirl will spend longer in prison following the intervention of the Solicitor General.

Elton Townend-Jones, 52, engaged in a course of sexual abuse against the victim when she was aged 10-14, which included raping her.

There were at least 25 occasions where the offender assaulted the victim by penetration whilst she was under 13.

On March 23, Townend-Jones was sentenced to a Special Custodial Sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment with a one-year extended licence at Cambridge Crown Court.  This was later increased on May 6 by Cambridge Crown Court to 17 years’ imprisonment with a one-year extended licence.

Following the sentencing, the Solicitor General Alex Chalk QC MP, referred Townend-Jones’ sentence to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

On June 30 the Court of Appeal found his original sentence to be unduly lenient and increased it 20 years’ imprisonment with a one-year extended licence.

Townend-Jones carried out the abuse between 2015-20, with the offences only coming to light when a relative of the girl saw something suspicious and called police.

During this period he was a leading light in the St Albans theatre scene as both a producer and director.

Townend-Jones, latterly of Church Road, Wisbech, but previously of Telford Court in St Albans, was arrested in June 2020. 

In police interview he denied the offences and claimed he didn’t know why the girl would accuse him of rape or sexual assault. 

In his second interview, he answered ‘no comment’ to all questions. 

Townend-Jones stood trial at Cambridge Crown Court in February where jurors found him guilty of 11 counts including three counts of rape and multiple counts of assaults on a child under the age of 13.

April 2022

Leading figure in St Albans theatre scene jailed for paedophilia

A St Albans playwright has been jailed following the rape and sexual assault of a schoolgirl over a period of five years.

Elton Townend-Jones, 51, carried out the abuse between 2015-20, with the offences only coming to light when a relative of the girl saw something suspicious and called police.

During this period he was a leading light in the St Albans theatre scene as both producer and director, with his many critically acclaimed works regularly performed at the city’s Maltings Arts Theatre (MAT), where he was once employed as marketing manager.

The theatre has refused to comment on his conviction, but the award-winning St Albans production company he had worked for – at one-time associate artist at the MAT – has already withdrawn all of his plays from their repertoire.

Townend-Jones, latterly of Church Road, Wisbech, but previously of Telford Court in St Albans, was arrested in June 2020. 

In police interview he denied the offences and claimed he didn’t know why the girl would accuse him of rape or sexual assault.

In his second interview, he answered ‘no comment’ to all questions.

Townend-Jones stood trial at Cambridge Crown Court in February where jurors found him guilty of 11 counts including three counts of rape and multiple counts of assaults on a child under the age of 13.

He was jailed for a total of 14 years and must serve two thirds of his sentence before being considered for release.

Townend-Jones was also handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to monitor any future offending and a restraining order preventing him from contacting his victim, both indefinitely.