Morecambe filmmaker jailed for sex offence against vulnerable woman

Chris Abram.

Chris Abram.

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A heritage filmmaker who was caught engaging in sexual activity with a vulnerable woman with a mental age of 10 has been jailed for 15 months.

Pensioner Richard Christopher Abram, 74, of Nicholson Crescent, Morecambe, who continues to protest his innocence, appeared to almost faint in the dock at Preston Crown Court before mouthing: “This is wrong” to a reporter.

The judge said his continuing denial aggravated the matter.

Paul Brookwell, prosecuting, said his victim was driven to a secluded spot at Paint Mine Woods, Warton.

But Abram was rumbled when groundsman Trevor Wright, who was clearing the wood in preparation for a clay pigeon shoot, spotted him kissing her and realised the woman, who has learning difficulties, was vulnerable.

Abram “threw up his hands” and drove away, but the suspicious worker got his numberplate and reported him to the police.

Judge Recorder Jones QC said: “ When he first looked at the car he was at first embarrassed. He thought there was a courting couple kissing in the car.

“Doubtless that’s what he expected in a secluded spot. In fact nothing could be further from the truth.

“This was a gross abuse of trust. She was in your care for her own safety.

“You continue to protest this is simply an incident of her panicking and that it was a hug for comfort.”

The court heard at first he had lied to police the woman in the car was his mistress, with whom he was having an affair, and he didn’t want his wife to find out.

The young woman lived in special accommodation and was permitted to go out with “trusted” people.

Abram, of Carnforth, but now of Nicholson Crescent, Morecambe, was found guilty of sexual activity with a person who lacks mental capacity.

The court heard he was currently undergoing chemotherapy, his marriage had collapsed and he had lost his home - but the judge said these matters did not detract from the fact he must go to prison immediately.

He must also sign the sex offender’s register for 10 years.