Church child abuser jailed - Luton

13/04/2015

A single mother was befriended by a man at her local Luton church who went on to sexually abuse her young daughter at his home.

David Peck, aged 63, was jailed for four years today, Monday, 13 April 2015, for carrying out assaults on the child, who was aged between five and seven.

Luton Crown Court heard that David Peck and his wife were trusted by the girl's mother.

Prosecutor Robert Forrest said the offences took place between July 2012 and July 2014. They came to light on Bank Holiday Monday last August when the little girl heard her mother tell a friend how she trusted Peck. The next morning she came downstairs and said: "Mum, can I tell you something? David has been touching me." A meeting was arranged at the church and when Peck was confronted he said: "I did it" or "She's not lying," said Mr Forrest.

The seven-year-old girl was interviewed by the police, saying she remembered the abuse started just before her sixth birthday.

Peck had handed himself in to Luton police station, telling staff he had touched a child. He said he had tried to keep himself away from the girl and claimed that he did not gain any sexual gratification. In a victim impact statement handed to the judge, the girl's mother said she felt she had failed her daughter.

Peck, now of Flintergill Court, Heelands, Milton Keynes, appeared for sentence having earlier pleaded guilty to four charges of sexual assault on a child aged under 13.

Stuart Sprawson, defending, said Peck had voluntarily sought counselling and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. "As soon as the events were disclosed, he met the mother with his wife and made full admissions," he said. He handed the judge references on Peck's behalf saying: "He is 63-years-old, is of previous good character and is remorseful. He was held in good esteem by many people who are shocked and devastated," he said.

Judge Michael Kay QC said: "This case was the most appalling breach of trust. You used church matters and your role in helping the community as a cloak to manipulate your way into the affections of the victim's mother. She attended the church and looked to you as an honest member of the community. You became a very close friend of the family and while this was happening you were abusing that girl." He said he rejected the idea that he had no sexual interest in the child, telling him: "It is very difficult to say what the psychological damage is to the child in the future. The real evil of offences of this nature is that you have potentially ruined a life." In addition to the four year sentence, he said Peck must register as a sex offender for life and abide by the terms of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

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