Man sentenced to life imprisonment for public protection over the rape of a 12-year-old boy with severe learning difficulties

16/11/2012

A 68-year-old man from Yatton Keynell, Wiltshire, has been sentenced today to an indeterminate sentence for public protection and he will have to serve a minimum of seven years’ imprisonment before being eligible for parole. This was for the rape of a 12-year-old boy and inciting him to engage in sexual activity.

Sophie Stevens, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex said: "David Webb is a serious and dangerous sex offender who has today been jailed for the shocking crimes he committed against a vulnerable 12-year-old boy with severe learning difficulties.

"Webb was convicted in 1994 and 1999 for similar offences against young boys and was on the sex offender register since his first conviction.

"Each time, he used the same modus operandi to approach vulnerable victims and to sexually abuse them.

"He befriended families in need of support by adopting a type of grand-father role. He omitted to mention his previous convictions or lied about them, and arranged to care for the children.

"Last year, he befriended the family of a 12-year-old boy with a very severe speech impairment, which makes communication very difficult.

"Despite his disability the young boy made all the efforts he could to tell his foster carers, social worker and the teacher at the special school that he attends how he had been abused by Webb.

"As a result, the police were contacted and interviewed the young boy with the aid of an intermediary.

"In his interviews, the boy explained the horrific details of his ordeal, how he was raped by Webb in his bedroom, in a supermarket and in the defendant's car. He also told the police that Webb hurt him in the woods and made him perform a sexual act.

"The young boy suffered from nightmares in which he truly believed that the defendant was in his bedroom, sitting in his bed. These nightmares left him terrified and he was convinced that no-one would believe him.

"We knew that these interviews would be crucial to prove Webb's guilt. We made an application to the court to use the DVD recordings of those interviews, a television link and the use of the intermediary in court as special measures to assist the victim to give his evidence.

"Due to the difficulty of the young boy being able to express himself, and the fact the he confided his ordeal to his, foster carers, social worker and his teacher we also made an application to have their evidence admitted in court as hearsay evidence.

"After hearing the defence and the prosecution case, the jury at Swindon Crown Court found David Webb guilty of the sexual assault, the rape of the boy and inciting him to engage in sexual activity.

"This case shows how CPS Wessex Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit (RASSO) and Wiltshire Police work closely together not only to bring this case before the court but to support, as best as possible, a young and vulnerable victim with severe learning difficulties to feel confident to give evidence.

"We would like to thank the young boy for his courage and we hope that this conviction and this sentence will help him now to move on with his life."