Preston elderly "monster" rapist with dementia found guilty of sex attacks more than 50 years ago

"He behaved as a monster... indulging himself at will in the most appalling, depraved sexual offending."

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 3:35 pm

Those were a judge's words as he sentenced an elderly rapist to two years of supervision in a care home.

Judge Simon Medland QC remarked in his 30 year career at the bar he had never encountered evidence of sexual offending more serious than that by defendant John Edward Brown, 81.

Brown, of Fir Trees Place, Ribbleton, Preston, was deemed unfit to plead to 18 charges relating to three girls, including rapes, gross indecency, and indecent assault, dating back as far as 1968 and could not stand trial in the usual way.

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John Brown was charged with sexual offences

If a Crown Court decides someone is unfit to plead, it will hold a trial of the facts and decide whether the defendant did the crime, and if it is found the defendant did do the acts the court can impose a hospital order or supervision.

Following proceedings at Preston Crown Court in July, jurors found he had committed the acts against the victims, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The women gave harrowing evidence in a victim impact statement summarised to the court by prosecutor Richard Haworth.

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The first said she found the criminal investigation process very difficult and had felt "ashamed, embarrassed and disgusting".

As a child she found it difficult to fit in and make friends and still has thoughts of suicide.

She described feeling guilty when she found out later in life Brown had abused other girls and at first blamed herself for not stopping what had happened to her.

The second woman said she had been anxious and nervous, and her education suffered.

Mr Haworth added: " She made a conscious decision not to have children as a result of the abuse

"Emotionally she doesn't trust anyone and describes a complete void emotionally that no one could fill."

The third victim told the court the abuse "robbed her of her childhood" and she didn't have many friends at school because she felt different and ashamed.

The court was told the home he was currently in no longer wished to have him reside there and are looking to have him moved to another facility.

His defence lawyer said it was "no means a surety" because the local authority, which funds his place, may not agree to his movement.

Judge Medland QC said: " Because the defendant is unfit to plead in the way in which he is, the court's hands are inevitably tied.

"Normally this process is designed to cater for people who are floridly psychotic and amenable to treatment and therefore the court very often imposes a hospital order.

"That is not the case because he doesn't have a treatable mental illness because he suffers from dementia.

"The other options are discharge or supervision. Plainly a discharge is out of the question and therefore it's inevitable the outcome appears to be a supervision order.

He added: "This is an unusual sentencing process. The defendant is not present in any way.

"The details of the offending which John Brown indulged in were in many ways so disgusting that I hesitate to repeat them in any detail now, suffice to say he behaved as a monster indulging himself at will in the most appalling depraved sexual offending."

He reminded the court Brown had been initially fit to plead but the pandemic then struck, delaying the case, and his condition deteriorated.

He said: "In the light of evidence before the jury I have no doubt that he would have been convicted at the end of a trial of all 18 counts on the indictment. If that had occurred, I would have considered with care the imposition of a sentence for life imprisonment and if I had not imposed life the sentence would have been not less than 20 years in prison and that would have undoubtedly resulted in him dying in prison.

"None of this outcome is possible because of the decline in his mental faculties which is proved beyond doubt by medical evidence."

Praising the "courage and fortitude" of the women, he said: "The only benefit of this whole process which we were able to undertake was that the victims were afforded the opportunity of giving their evidence in a public forum and they were believed on their oath as truthful witnesses - that may be some comfort to them.

Brown must sign the Sex Offender's Register for five years.

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