Paedophile aged 101 is Britain’s oldest convict

Paedophile aged 101 is Britain’s oldest convict

Telegraph:-101-year-old paedophile who sexually abused children as young as four in his garden shed will die in prison after becoming the oldest criminal to be jailed in British legal history.

Ralph Clarke’s life is almost certain to end behind bars after a judge handed him a 13-year term for the child sex attacks spanning nearly a decade.

The former lorry driver committed a catalogue of assaults against a boy and two young girls between 1974 and 1983. The attacks took place in the pensioner’s “man cave” workshop and in the cab of his truck.

He bribed his victims to keep quiet with sweets and money, but they came forward after being enraged by Facebook posts celebrating his 100th birthday.

Clarke, of Erdington, Birmingham, was jailed on Monday following a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, where he was found guilty of 21 historical sex offences.

The ex-RAF serviceman appeared in the dock wearing a beige cardigan, brown trousers and spectacles.  He leaned on a walking stick, flanked by a two security guards and an intermediary.

He shook his head and said “no” as the judge read out details of his crimes.

Judge Richard Bond said his offences were “repeated and sustained over a period of time” and he had shown “no remorse”.

Clarke showed no emotion as he was jailed. He will serve half his sentence before being eligible for parole.

The victims – now in their late 40s – wept and embraced as he was led out of the court.

The court heard Clarke would remove his false teeth before performing sex acts on the boy and one of the girls was aged four when she was first abused.

The female victims reported Clarke to police in August last year after hearing “what a good life he’d led”. When interviewed, his first words to detectives were: “Who has complained?”

Half way through the trial, Clarke admitted nine indecency charges against the boy between the age of nine and 14. He told the jury it was “something that happened”, but his victim “could have said no”.

The widower, who served in the Second World War, denied abusing the girls and called them “born liars”.

It was said he forced them to perform sex acts on him in his shed during the school summer holidays and the abuse was “a daily event”.  They were left traumatised and one later attempted suicide.

In a moving victim impact statement read to the court, Clarke’s male victim said: “I would have said rather than let it destroy my life, I have used my experiences to make my life better, to be a better husband and a devoted father.

“What he did has impacted on everything I have ever done. I have been unable to show love and compassion which has hurt so many people as much as it’s hurt me.

“I turned to drinking and my first marriage failed. I couldn’t hate him because that hate would have eaten away at me.”

Clarke, born in March 1915, was known locally as a “very handy” repairman.  The great grandfather said that youngsters “came from all over” to have their bikes fixed and knew him as “Nobby”.

Special provisions were made for the pensioner during the trial because of his age. He  was allowed to sit at the back of the courtroom rather than in the dock and left for regular breaks during the case.

The court only sat until lunchtime each day to allow Clarke to go home and rest.  He listened to proceedings through a hearing aid and was supported by an intermediary, but the jury was told he was “lucid” and had an “excellent memory”.

DC Emma Fennon, of West Midlands Police, said Clarke was “utterly remorseless” and “actually enjoyed” talking about his crimes.

She said: “He fully understood what was going on and I am pleased he has been brought to justice.”

Clarke replaces Gaston Pinsard as Britain’s oldest convict.  Pinsard was 96 when he was given an 18-month sentence in 2015 for sexually abusing two schoolgirls more than 50 years ago.

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