Retired headmaster, 75, admits sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl but judge spares him jail because of his health
- Former primary school teacher Nigel Weekes was previously jailed for abusing seven young girls around 40 years ago
- He admitted abusing the eighth victim, who was just eight at the time
- Judge Philip Statman told Weekes he had ‘ruined’ girl’s childhood and should have ‘gone to prison for a long time’
- However, Weekes who has dementia and other health problems, was given a suspended sentence
Retired headmaster Nigel Weekes (pictured) who admitted sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl has been spared jail because of his ill health
A retired headmaster who admitted sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl has been spared jail because of his ill health.
Nigel Weekes, who was sentenced to three years in prison 13 years after he admitted abusing seven girls, pleaded guilty to molesting the child during his time as head of St Mary’s Primary School in Ashford, Kent.
Judge Philip Statman said the abuse, endured by the girl almost 40 years ago, had caused her ‘great distress’ and ‘ruined’ her childhood.
However, he gave Weekes an 18-month sentence suspended for two years after hearing he was suffering from dementia and various other health problems.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the victim, who was eight years old at the time, was extremely vulnerable.
Judge Statman told Weekes: ‘You seized the opportunity to take her under your wing, and while in a position of considerable trust and responsibility, slowly but surely you groomed her to perform sex acts upon you for your personal gratification.
‘At that stage in her life she had absolutely no idea as to what she was being asked to do to you, or, of course, that it was wrong.’
The court was told that sex acts with the girl had taken place during game playing while Weekes’s private parts were ‘tied in some way to a candle’.
Jennifer Dempster, mitigating, said Weekes, of Romney Marsh, Kent, had served a ‘significant’ sentence after he was jailed in October 2002 and not offended since.
His wife sat in the public gallery as Miss Dempster said: ‘She couldn’t be more loyal.’
She added: ‘I am in a position to say he is a rehabilitated man. He has possible Alzheimer’s, type one diabetes, no vision in his left eye, vertigo and hypertension.
Weekes, who was sentenced to three years in prison 13 years after he admitted abusing seven girls, pleaded guilty to molesting the child during his time as head of St Mary’s Primary School in Ashford, Kent (pictured)
The offences carried out against the young girls date back to the 1970s, when Weekes was headteacher at the school in Ashford
‘I am in the odd position of saying give him a suspended sentence and don’t send him back in with active sex offenders.’
Judge Statman said: ‘These cases are terribly sensitive.
‘The public as a whole have grave concerns about sex offending within the community and judges have to be sensitive to the needs of victims, because her life has changed as a result of what happened to her.’
‘The events have haunted your victim for over 38 years, causing her great distress. Her childhood was ruined as a result of what you did to her.’
Judge Statman said the victim had found it difficult to trust in relationships and had sought counselling.
He said: ‘Thirty-eight years later justice has caught up with you.
‘The age of these offences become irrelevant, it seems to me, because she has had to live with what you have done to her over the passage of time.’
Weekes (left) was handed a suspended sentence after Judge Philip Statman (right) heard he was suffering from dementia and various other health problems
Weekes, who admitted two specimen offences of indecency with a child, will be under supervision for two years.
A sexual harm prevention order was imposed for five years and his name remains on the sex offenders’ register.
But sentencing was difficult because of the juxtaposition of dates in both sets of offences and Weekes’s poor health, the court was told.
The maximum sentence for the latest offence was two years imprisonment at the relevant time.
Judge Statman said: ‘It would be wrong now, ten years after your release and subsequent to the commission of these offences, to send you, in poor health, back to prison.’
‘If you had been before me to be sentenced in different circumstances you would have gone to prison for a long time.’
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