Sex abuse case man faces jail

PUBLISHED: 11:48 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 14:50 12 May 2010

A CAR dealer is facing years in prison having been found guilty of sexually abusing five young girls over a 14-year period. Graham Pope, 66, had taken advantage of the girls, aged between seven and 13, when they stayed over in his homes in Hinxworth, Ashw

A CAR dealer is facing years in prison having been found guilty of sexually abusing five young girls over a 14-year period.

Graham Pope, 66, had taken advantage of the girls, aged between seven and 13, when they stayed over in his homes in Hinxworth, Ashwell, and Guilden Morden.

They were friends of his two daughters.

Pope, of Thompsons Meadow, Guilden Morden, had originally denied 20 charges of indecent assault between 1985 and 2000.

On Thursday, a jury at Luton Crown Court convicted him of 15 charges. Four charges were dropped half-way through the trial, and the jury failed to agree on one charge.

Judge Michael Kay QC remanded Pope in custody and told him he would be sentenced in November.

He said: "There will be only one possible sentence, and it will be a sentence measured in years."

During a nine-day trial the jury was told how Pope treated his children's friends to fun activities, but would then use bedtimes and bath times as an opportunity to touch them indecently.

He claimed that nothing indecent happened and that he was the victim of a vendetta by another girl, who had put the girls up to making the allegations.

Ann Evans, prosecuting, said: "There were always children around the house, and, by his own admission, he wanted to be seen as a super dad."

She said there were striking similarities between the accounts given by the five girls.

They told how Pope got involved at bath time and bed time. He would sponge them in the bath and then rub talc on them.

At bedtime he would tickle or massage them to get them to sleep, but then touch them indecently as they lay in bed.

He performed oral sex on one 10-year-old girl while his own daughter was asleep in the room.

Pope, who ran a car dealership in Hitchin, was arrested on August 10 last year and immediately described the allegations as "nonsense".

After he was convicted, his barrister Patricia May asked for bail to enable him to sort out his business affairs, but it was refused.

She said he employed 19 people.

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