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‘Predatory paedophile’ sentenced to life imprisonment

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A 58-YEAR-OLD man described as a “predatory paedophile” who abused children over a period of three decades has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Anthony Lewis appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday (Sept 24) where he pleaded guilty to non-recent offences of rape, sexual assault and indecent assaults.

Lewis admitted nine counts of rape, 10 indecent assaults and one count of sexual assault committed against girls aged from four and 17 between 1987 and 2007. The charges involve multiple offences against each victim and were committed in Norfolk, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and London.

However the police force dealing with the case have asked local newspapers to publicise the case in every area, in case there are other victims which need to come forward.

Lewis, who also goes by the names Chaz, Chas, Charlie and Tony, worked as an entertainer and would target his victims by setting up talent show companies, preying on young children under the guise of getting them gigs and making them famous. The court heard he would befriend the parents of vulnerable children and make links with the likes of church and charity groups, where he knew children would be present.

The investigation began in September 2017 when one of his victims went to the police to report the historic abuse and Lewis was arrested in connection with the allegations the following month. Devices seized at his home address, following his arrest, were found to contain indecent images of children and he was further arrested for these offences. Lewis was later charged with four offences of making/possessing of indecent images which he pleaded guilty to and was convicted of in May 2018. In October that year, he was given a 17-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

The historic allegations continued to be investigated and Lewis was later charged with multiple offences in May this year.

Lewis, of Yeomans Court, Meeting Lane, Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum of 11 years before being considered for release.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Verity Holmes, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, said: “I welcome the significant sentence passed at court today but it’s important not to lose sight that even though Lewis will now spend a considerable time in prison, his victims will have to live with the impact of his abuse for the rest of their lives.

“Lewis was a predatory paedophile who would target children’s talent shows, music festivals, church and charity groups, where he knew children would be present and have opportunity to abuse them.

“Lewis’ offending spanned over three decades and we know his work in entertainment took him across the country.

“Every allegation of child abuse is fully investigated by Norfolk Police, with specialist officers guiding victims through the process. Support and advice is available from a range of agencies we work closely with towards the successful prosecution of offenders.”

Statements from all of Lewis’ victims were read out to the court, with each describing how the abuse has affected their lives and relationships. Many of them revealed their struggles in later life with alcohol and drug abuse as well as mental health issues.

After being abused, one victim described how her relationships with boys and men have never been the same since. She said: “I felt I couldn’t be around boys or men at all, including my own brother. I couldn’t trust him. The relationship with my brother has never been the same since.”

She also described the relief of finding out Lewis was being brought to justice. “I felt I could breathe again, I didn’t have to keep looking over my shoulder anymore…. he’ll go away for a long time and can’t hurt anyone else.”

Another victim said: “He took away my innocence, my childhood and my ability to form relationships with others.”

Describing the impact of his offending, another victim said: “The long-term impact on me has been horrendous… I struggle to be able to trust anybody. Life experiences I have should have enjoyed were all tainted by what Lewis did to me.”

In another statement read out to court, his victim said: “I don’t trust anybody, not even my own family. I’ve had nightmares for as long as I can remember. I would be chased by a shadowy figure. I would be running, screaming, but no one could hear. That room – it’s always in that room but now as an adult I feel stuck in there and can’t get out. I don’t know how to feel about him being convicted. I do know I want him to feel fear about going to prison, even for a second, so he feels the fear that I felt.”

Sentencing Lewis, His Honour Judge Andrew Shaw said: “You have admitted the most egregious and appalling campaign of sexual abuse over 20 years. Each one of your five victims was a child you owed a duty of care to…you abused your position of trust.

“The five victim personal statements were among the saddest and most upsetting I’ve ever heard. No underestimation you have ruined their lives. They have suffered the most severe psychological harm at your hands.”

Hendrika Tatam, a specialist RASSO prosecutor, said: “This case demonstrates that where there is sufficient evidence we will not shy away from prosecuting perpetrators of sexual abuse no matter how long ago the offences were committed and we worked closely with the police to ensure that he was brought to justice for his despicable conduct.

“We want every victim to have the confidence to report what happens to them to the police. The police will investigate and gather evidence, and where there is sufficient evidence, the CPS will proceed to prosecution.”

Anyone who may have been affected by anything raised in this case can contact police in their local area on 101.

The freephone NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000 is available for anyone to report or seek advice about non-recent abuse. Calls can be made anonymously.

Norfolk Sexual Assault Referral Centre, The Harbour Centre, operates a 24-hour service for victims of sexual abuse and can be contacted on 0845 456 4810.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is the UK’s only children’s charity dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and runs a Freephone confidential helpline 0808 1000 900.

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Vulnerable man targeted by rogue trader

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A ROGUE trader has been ordered to pay almost £2,000 by a court after carrying out shocking DIY work for a vulnerable Jameston man.

Pembrokeshire Trading Standards prosecuted 20-year-old Douggie James Whitbread who traded as Wales and West Property Solution.

Haverfordwest Magistrates were told on Friday (Oct 23) that a joint investigation with Dyfed-Powys Police discovered that Whitbread of 8 Coldwell Terrace, Pembroke, first approached the 66-year-old victim in the summer of 2019.

After agreeing to cut the man’s grass, Whitbread made regular accompanied visits looking for other jobs and pressurising the pensioner to have them done.

The victim did not know him as Douggie Whitbread as the defendant gave a false name.

Whitbread offered to fit new floor lino in the toilet and small adjoining passageway of the victim’s home, saying he would do a good job. Instead, the court heard, he and a fellow worker spent less than an hour and charged £300.

The standard of the work was shocking and showed Whitbread’s inept ability. Jagged edges and numerous gaps were left where it had not been fitted correctly, exposing the existing floor underneath.

Despite there being enough lino on the two metre by two metre roll, Whitbread told the victim he needed more to finish the job.

A few weeks later the victim was approached by Whitbread at a bus stop near his home. He said he would return the next day to finish the work and that he wanted another £300.

The victim informed a neighbour and Pembrokeshire County Council’s Trading Standards team and when Whitbread returned he was arrested by police.

Whitbread was also questioned about another incident involving hedge-cutting for an elderly lady and admitted taking away the waste as advertised on his business flyer. However, he did not hold a Waste Carrier Licence at the time.

Whitbread admitted four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These were: carrying out work not fit for purpose; trading without professional diligence; omitting to give required information for doorstep contracts and advertising and conducting waste removal services when not licensed.

A £200 fine was imposed for each offence together with £1,000 costs plus a £110 victim surcharge. A compensation order for £300 was also awarded to the victim and a restraining order imposed prohibiting Whitbread from approaching the pensioner indefinitely.

“I am appalled by the standard of work and how this vulnerable gentleman has been hounded and taken advantage of” said Sandra McSparron, Lead Trading Standards Officer. She added that the incidents had left the victim anxious and unwell.

The County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cris Tomos, said: “This court case sends a clear warning to rogue traders that targeting the elderly and vulnerable for financial gain will not be tolerated. We will pursue and prosecute all those who commit such despicable crimes.”

Councillor Tomos also said the case showed the great community spirit of Jameston residents looking out for one another and was a fine example of successful partnership work between the police and Trading Standards.

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Drug driver arrested in Milford Haven after driving through stop sign and into roadworks

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A DRUG driver who drove through a stretch of roadworks on the wrong side of the road, before hitting a parked car and trying to hide from police has appeared in court.

Christopher John Brown led Dyfed-Powys Police officers on a pursuit through Milford Haven on Friday afternoon (October 23), putting pedestrians and other road users at risk.

Pembrokeshire Roads Policing Unit have thanked people for their help in tracing the 31-year-old, of Meyler Crescent, after the manner of his driving became so dangerous they could no longer follow him.

A Roads Policing Officer had attempted to stop Brown at around 1pm when he was seen driving out of The Mount estate at speed.

However, he failed to stop when requested and sped away in his BMW.

As police followed, Brown drove on the wrong side of the road, overtook a number of cars waiting at roadworks, and drove through a stop sign, forcing an off duty officer to take evasive action as the defendant drove towards him.

Police deemed the danger level too high to continue the pursuit when Brown drove through a coned area of roadworks where there were a number of people working.

At this point, members of the public pointed out to officers which direction he had driven in.

Brown went on to collide with a parked car, before getting out of his vehicle and attempting to hide behind another. He was found by a PC, who arrested him on suspicion of dangerous driving and administered a drug wipe.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesman said: “This was a highly dangerous incident, during which Brown put a number of people’s lives at risk.

“Driving through a stop sign and into a coned area of roadworks was simply beyond comprehension, and could have had a tragic outcome.

“As we decided to end the pursuit, we were assisted by a number of people, and the team would like to thank members of the public in Milford Haven for their help in tracing Brown.

“Your support is greatly appreciated.”

Brown was charged with dangerous driving, driving with no insurance, driving while disqualified, failing to stop when requested by police, and possession of cannabis.

His vehicle, which had no insurance, tax or mot, was also seized.

He was remanded to appear in front of the next available court, and admitted all five offences at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, October 24. He also pleaded guilty to an additional charge of driving whilst unfit through drugs, which was laid on at court.

He will be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on November 16.

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Five arrested in connection with large cannabis grow in Whitland

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FIVE people have been arrested in connection with the discovery of a large amount of cannabis in Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police carried out a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act at an address in Whitland, on the morning of Friday, October 23.

Officers found a significant number of mature cannabis plants, with a sophisticated hydroponics set-up, numerous bags of cannabis bud, and cannabis resin.

Police seized electronic devices, several thousands of pounds in cash and silver bars, as well as vehicles under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Five people – a 58-year-old woman and four men aged 28, 30, 60 and 61 – were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the production of cannabis, and possession with intent to supply.

They have been bailed with conditions pending further enquiries.

Detective Inspector Rhys Jones said: “This is an example of excellent collaborative work between a number of different departments in the force, which has taken a significant amount of drugs off the streets.

“As our investigation into this cannabis cultivation continues, we ask anyone with information that could help enquiries to please get in touch.

“We urge anyone with information about suspicious or unusual activity in rural areas report it to us, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.”

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