Dementia stricken child rapist, 84, gets community order

William Altham as a younger man
William Altham as a younger man

A child rapist who abused a little girl more than 40 years ago has been given a community order on account of his dementia.

William Altham, 84, was found guilty of three rapes, indecent assault and gross indecency at Preston Crown Court following a “nine year campaign” of sexual abuse”.

Judge Jacqueline Beech imposed a five year sexual harm prevention order and a three year community order with probation supervision.

Today an NSPCC spokesman said: “Altham led a horrifying campaign of rape and abuse against a vulnerable young girl and it’s right that he’s now being closely supervised so he is no longer a danger to children.

“The astounding bravery shown by his victim has helped bring Altham to justice and we hope this case gives hope to many other survivors of child sexual abuse that they can come forward and be listened to, no matter what the circumstances.”

Jurors at Preston Crown Court took seven hours to reach their verdicts.

Altham, of Bleasdale Street East, Deepdale, Preston, was not fit enough to attend the whole trial but in unusual circumstances, prosecutors were able to rely on a police interview from 2013, alongside his victim’s evidence.

His victim, a Preston grandmother, previously told the Post: “People probably wonder why I didn’t tell anyone - but how do you tell anyone something like that, especially when you are scared? Is there ever the right time?”

See her harrowing interview here

The case has given hope to hundreds in similar situations.

For advice and support regarding a child, call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.