August 2022

Weaverham man avoids jail for sex offences

A judge told a Weaverham man he should be ‘ashamed’ after he performed a sex act in front of two 11-year-old girls more than 30 years ago.

Mark Anthony Foster, of Forster Avenue, avoided an immediate spell behind bars when he was given a 21-month suspended sentence for two counts of indecency with a child.

A jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on two of the seven counts following a week-long trial at Chester Crown Court in June.

The 60-year-old denied any wrong-doing during the trial, saying the girls had either lied or misunderstood, but following his conviction had since told a probation officer, “I may have done it”.

In a pre-sentence report, Foster admitted he may have carried out the vile act when he was ‘immature and silly’ – despite being married with children and in his early 30s at the time.

He also told probation how he had enjoyed flirting with teenage girls back in the 1980s and 1990s because it made him ‘feel like a stud’.

Prosecuting barrister Gareth Roberts told Chester Crown Court how both victims had been babysitting Foster’s children while he went out with his wife.

“Both girls say there were in primary school at the time,” he said.

“Foster came home early and joined the two girls, who were watching television in the lounge.

“He sat in a chair next to them and placed a cushion on his lap.

“Both girls describe how when he removed the cushion, they could see his erect penis, which he was stroking.”

Giving personal victim statements, one of the victims said she feared she wouldn’t be believed at the time so kept quiet. Another went on to explain her she felt guilty for not saying anything until she was approached by the police in 2018.

“From that point on, I made a promise to myself to tell the truth,” one of them said.

While another added, “He might not remember me, but I remember him.”

Judge Michael Leeming told Foster he should be ashamed of himself as he explained the maximum sentence for the now expired offence of indecency with a child had been two years at the time – with the modern equivalent now carrying a maximum term of 10 years.

“You’ve got on with your life during the past 30 years,” he told him.

“They can only now get on with theirs now you’ve been found guilty.

“You have admitted you may have acted inappropriately saying it was a stupid mistake and that you were immature and silly.

“But you were a married man with children.

“You also told probation how you used to enjoy flirting with teenage girls because it made you feel like a stud.

“You should be ashamed of your behaviour.”

However, Judge Leeming accepted the overall recommendation of the probation service and agreed that Foster was someone who could be rehabilitated.

He sentenced him to 21 months in prison but suspended that for a period of two years.

Foster must, however, carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and complete 35 rehabilitation days with the probation service. He will also have to sign the sex offenders register for the next 10 years.

After the court room had cleared, one of Foster’s family members could be clearly heard shouting abuse at one of the victims outside, calling her “a lying b***h”.

June 2022

Weaverham man convicted of two sex offences after trial

A Weaverham man has been found guilty of performing a sex act in front of two young girls who had been babysitting his own children.

Mark Anthony Foster has been on trial at Chester Crown Court charged with a total of seven historic sex offences dating back to the 1990s.

The 60-year-old, of Forster Avenue, denied the accusations made against him by a total of four women, who are now in their 40s, but at the time had been aged between nine and 13.

Now, after deliberating the evidence for just under five hours, the jury issued unanimous guilty verdicts on two counts of indecency with a child.

However, Foster was cleared of three other charges of indecency with a child as well as two counts of indecent assault.

It was the second time Foster had been tried on the matters, after a jury failed to reach a verdict in July 2021 – with a judge ordering a re-trial.

The two acts of indecency related to an incident in the lounge of Foster’s home when he performed a sex act in front of two girls who had been babysitting his children.

He was sitting in an armchair with a cushion over his lap and when he removed it, the girls could see he had his penis out.

After he was found guilty, Judge Michael Leeming told Foster, who was in his late 20s or early 30s when the incident took place, he will be sentenced in August.

The judge also told him how his hands would be in somewhat tied with regard to his sentencing powers, as the Indecency with Children Act 1960 had been abolished since the offences took place.

He said: “I make no indication whatsoever with regards to my sentence.

“That is because these are historic offences, which have been abolished in the time since they were committed.”

Foster’s bail was renewed until his next court appearance, and he was told to notify the police of his address as part of a notification requirement of the sex offender’s register.

One of Foster’s family members shouted abuse at the jury as they were being led out of the courtroom and there was a short delay in them being dismissed from their duties.

He will be sentenced on Thursday, August 4.