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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Man, 43, jailed for sex attacks on schoolgirls when he was teenager

A computer expert has been jailed for five years after he admitted sexually abusing schoolgirls more than 20 years ago.

Joseph Benjamin Alcock, 43, was in his late teens when he subjected his three victims to sex attacks carried out regularly over three years in the 1980s.

His crimes came to light only last year after one of his victims began seeing a psychologist and summoned the courage to seek justice.

When he was challenged about the allegations, Alcock, who lived near Carlisle and was aged between 16 and 19 when he preyed on the girls, initially denied everything.

But he later admitted 19 sexual offences.

At the city’s Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to nine offences of indecency with one girl – beginning when she was six; as well as three indecent assaults and one attempted rape against the same child.

His second victim, aged seven when it started, was subjected to three indecency offences and one indecent assault. Alcock also admitted this, as well as two counts of indecency with the third child, who was five when he began to abuse her.

Prosecutor Kim Whittlestone said that, with the exception of the attempted rape, the offences against the first child were specimen charges.

The barrister described how the victim, now an adult, had been visibly distressed as she recalled her ordeal.

“He used to buy her sweets,” said Miss Whittlestone. “As she grew up she has realised how wrong his actions were.”

It was Alcock’s youngest victim who, after having a nervous breakdown, saw a psychologist last year and decided she had to report what happened to the police, said Miss Whittlestone.

Keith Thomas, for Alcock, said the defendant had been in a local school sixth form when his offending began and it ended shortly after he took up his place a Durham University after leaving school.

“There has been no criminal activity of any kind since,” said the barrister, who said his client had led an industrious life, working in the information technology industry.

“He’s full of shame and remorse,” said Mr Thomas, who added that Alcock was now a different person to the young man who committed the sexual offences.

Judge Peter Hughes QC told the defendant: “Over three years, you sexually abused [the three girls], and you did so, it is quite plain from what I have read of this case, for your own pleasure and for your own sexual gratification. You did so without any due thought for the potentially harmful effects that it would have.”

The judge said the effect on the most abused victim had been profound, leaving her with depression, eating disorders, and other problems.

As well as the jail term, the judge ruled that Alcock must go on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely, and he will be banned for a decade from having contact with any child or vulnerable adult.

Speaking after the case, Vicky Atkinson, senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “There was a significant age difference between Joseph Alcock and the girls, which he was well aware of when he carried out this systematic abuse.

“He was a youth when he started to abuse them, which he then continued after he had become an adult.

“I would like to thank the victims for their courage in coming forward and standing up to their abuser.”

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