CAGED: Preston man jailed for raping schoolgirl

Preston man Peter Harvey has been jailed for 20 years for raping a schoolgirl. His wife Barbara Ann Muncey-Harvey says she knew nothing about the case until he was arrested as they went on honeymoon.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 20th February 2017, 7:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:23 am
Peter Harvey has been jailed for 20 years for child sex offences in Coventry
Peter Harvey has been jailed for 20 years for child sex offences in Coventry

To friends and neighbours, he was a deeply spiritual man, putting his healing hands on others and offering to bless people’s homes.

But Peter Harvey was carrying a sinister secret.

Harvey, 58, originally from Coventry, had raped and abused a schoolgirl over an eight-year period, before moving north to Preston to begin a new life with his new wife.

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Peter Harvey on his wedding day

His past caught up with him when police in the West Midlands launched a probe.

Today Harvey’s wife, Barbara Ann Muncey-Harvey, 66, spoke of her torment as she recalled how the retired HGV driver was stopped by police at the airport as they went to go on their honeymoon in 2014 and later arrested.

The grandmother, who is partially sighted, said: “I barely go out since this has happened. I don’t know what’s going on.

“A lot of people won’t talk to me. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. No-one comes to see me. I feel shunned.

Peter Harvey on his wedding day

“I don’t believe any of it. He rings me for two minutes each night from prison.”

The former Ribbleton Hall High School pupil met Harvey through his brother and mutual friends in 2008 when they used to come up from Coventry for weekends with friends.

The pair trained to do reiki healing together and she says they have held healing sessions at their home for friends

She says: “I inspired him to become a born again Christian. He’s been my rock.”

They married at a Preston Methodist church in September 2013 and planned a late honeymoon cruise in the January.

She said: “They picked him up at the airport and I had to travel on my own, which is difficult as I am disabled. He flew out the next day.

“He’s still trying to get his head round it.

“I’m sure I’m being accused by people of hiding away, but I just can’t get out. I knew nothing about these allegations and I don’t believe them.”

But after a 10-day trial, jurors at Warwick Crown Court did believe them. Harvey was found guilty of 10 charges - four rapes, three indecent assaults, two sexual assaults and inciting a child to commit sexual activity.

A judge jailed him for a total of 20 years with an extended licence.

Today Harvey’s neighbour Terence Pollard, of Coopers Fold, said: “He used to come in our house. We live on a cul de sac of mostly elderly women. He’d been in everyone’s houses being all friendly. He told me he had been in the army.

“He said, ‘Me and my wife are born again Christians. I can bless this house if you like, it’s a happy home.’

“I used to go to school with his wife. We were all horrified when we found out what had happened.

“Worse still, his home is next to a community office that runs a hub for teenagers. I saw the police arrive. They were loading up his computer equipment into a van.

“He got arrested and they took him away under a blanket.”

Harvey was netted by West Midlands Police’s new Historical Sex Offences Team. His was among almost 300 cases dealt with in its first year − and secured justice for some survivors who suffered abuse up to 50 years ago.

A police spokesman said: “We have a successful track record of securing justice even in cases where abuse has taken place decades earlier.

“West Midlands Police has a dedicated Historic Abuse Team featuring officers who are specially trained to secure evidence and support abuse survivors through the police and courts process.

“We would urge anyone who has been a victim of abuse to get in touch.”