Latest Offenders Bideford
Barry Taylor 57
Paedophile who kept a photo of a child as a screensaver on his secret phone.
Benson Drive, Northam, Bideford, Devon EX39
A sick paedophile who kept a photo of a child as a screensaver on his secret phone has been jailed. Barry Taylor, 57, hid the device in a toolbox in his shed in Northam.
When police found it in a search they discovered he had been sharing horrific images of child abuse with other paedophiles. Taylor claimed he found the phone on the street but analysis revealed he had been using it to search the internet for indecent photos.
Taylor has a history of similar offending and was described in court as someone with an entrenched sexual interest in children. He said he was terrified of going to prison but was sentenced to two and a half years.
Prosecutor Nigel Wraith said in August 2020 Taylor told his supervising police officer that he had thrown his phone in the sea after receiving threats. Police quizzed him about effectively deleting the search history on the device.
The truth was that Taylor had kept his phone and hidden it in the shed. When police found it during a search in August 2021 he said the device did not belong to him.
Police found 252 images of children on the phone. Some were in the most serious category showing the sexual abuse of babies.
They also found evidence he had shared a small number of images with two men in 2017 and 2018. Taylor's behaviour put him in breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed by the courts in 2019 when he was jailed for nine months for making indecent images. The defendant, of Benson Drive, admitted breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, three offences of making by downloading indecent images of children and distributing indecent images.
Michael Green, defending, said Taylor was scared about going to prison and has caring responsibilities at home.
Judge David Evans said he had a good insight into his offending and accepted he is remorseful. He added: "You have a sexual interest in underage children. Undoubtedly this was a very serious and persistent breach that went on for some time and you failed to reveal possession of the mobile phone."
He said people should be concerned about Taylor's behaviour but there was no suggestion it had gone from online offending to contact crimes.
Glenn Pearson 60
Repeatedly raped a woman over a 20-year period.
Bideford, Devon, EX39
A man who repeatedly raped a woman over a 20-year period has been jailed. Glenn Pearson, 59, was sentenced to 16 years in prison at Peterborough Crown Court today (June 29).
Pearson, who lived in Fenland at the time of the offences, began sexually abusing the woman in the early 1990s. His crimes only came to light when the victim spoke about the abuse in 2018.
After his arrest, Pearson denied all the offences in interview. At trial last month, he was found guilty of two counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, attempted rape, and buggery.
Pearson, who is now of Bideford in Devon, was sentenced to sixteen years in prison. He was also handed a lifelong restraining order against the victim.
DC Joe Passby said: Pearsons offences have had a huge impact on the victim, who was very brave in coming forwards and confiding in officers about the horrific abuse she had suffered. She stood firm despite unprecedented delays due to Covid and now the case has concluded can start her recovery from the trauma she was subjected to.
For support and more information on rape and serious sexual offences, visit the forces dedicated web page.
Gerald Ludlam 64
Sexual predator who abused two children.
Market Place, Bideford, Devon, EX39
A sexual predator who abused two children has been jailed for 24 years.
Gerald Ludlam, also known as Toby Ludlam, was convicted of 14 serious sexual offences at a trial at Exeter Crown Court in December.
Ludlam, who committed the offences in the 1990s and early 2000s, described himself as a 'hard-drinking and hard-working biker' who had been wrongly accused.
But a judge labelled him dangerous paedophile when he was sentenced on Monday [February 21].
The 62-year-old, of Market Place, was given an extended three years on licence meaning he will be almost 90 when the full sentence ends.
His victims, one aged as young as four when she was first assaulted, provided moving statements about the damage his crimes had caused to their lives.
One said: "The abuse I suffered at his hands affected all aspects of my life."
As an adult she struggled to maintain relationships. Her mental health had also suffered.
The other victim said Ludlam had 'taken away my childhood' and left her feeling 'broken'.
Mr Richard Crabb, defending, said the defendant had no previous convictions for anything similar.
"He continues to deny the offences and always will."
He said Ludlam saw himself as part of a hard-drinking, drug-taking, bikers culture. Most of his jobs had been in driving or vehicle recovery. He also dabbled in antiques.
He had more recently been living on his own in a flat and no longer drank alcohol.
Ludlam was found guilty of charges including indecent assault, indecency with a child and rape.
Judge Peter Johnson said: "In December last year you were convicted of 14 out of 15 counts that represented a campaign of sexual abuse against children."
He said the defendant had caused serious psychological and emotional harm to his victims. He had made them feel like liars for speaking out when it was clear he was the liar.
"You have shown no remorse whatsoever and you perhaps never will admit your actions. You continue to deny anything happened and your nods and shaking of the head in the dock confirm that view."
He added: "I find you are dangerous and impose an extended sentence."
Ludlam will serve two thirds of the 24 years in jail. He will remain on licence for a total of 27 years.
"You will be almost 90 when the sentence comes to an end," said Judge Johnson.
Francis McDermott 79
Catholic priest guilty of abusing six children in the 1970s.
Atlantic Way, Westward Ho, Bideford, Devon, EX39
A Catholic priest has been jailed for nine years and 11 months after being found guilty of abusing six children in the 1970s.
Francis McDermott, 75, of Westward Ho in Bideford, abused six victims, some as young as 10, in London, Norwich, and High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, between 1971 and 1978, Aylesbury Crown Court heard.
Two of his victims read statements during Thursday's sentencing hearing which recounted the "devastating impact" he had on their lives.
One said: "I hate you. There is no one to blame but you," while another described how her family had all been "married and baptised by a disgusting monster".
Judge Catherine Tulk told McDermott he had "turned down so many opportunities to admit your wrongdoing".
She noted the irony that one of the central tenets of the Catholic Church was confession.
The offences were reported to the church on two separate occasions but were not passed on to police after McDermott denied the allegations, the court heard.
McDermott was found guilty of 18 counts of historic child sex offences following a trial.
Trevor Burke QC, defending McDermott, said the defendant had been a Catholic priest "all his adult life" but said "for a period of seven years where he had completely lost his way".
A woman who was sexually abused by McDermott when she was aged just 12 thought she was in love and never suspected his actions were wrong.
Eleanor, now in her 50s, was reeling from a family tragedy when Father Francis McDermott came into her life and began abusing her over an 18-month period.
The 74-year-old was convicted of 18 sexual offences against children in the 1970s after a trial at Aylesbury Crown Court.
The first time he kissed her he was lying on a sofa in her family home and asked her for a cuddle, Eleanor recalled, but he soon progressed to touching her intimately under her clothes.
Eleanor, whose name has been changed for legal reasons, said: "I fell in love with him and I thought that he loved me... I would feel a bit upset if he ignored me around other people, because I thought that I was special, that I was with him, he was mine I suppose."
One of six victims, Eleanor "never dreamed" he was doing anything to other children.
She only realised what had happened to her was wrong when, five years later, her then-partner reacted with shock when she told him who she had shared her first kiss with.
She said: "He didn't know what to do with that information. He was angry, he was confused. It was horrendous.
"And I just stood there and I can remember even now just standing there being totally bewildered because as far as I knew it wasn't wrong. I didn't ever suspect that anything that went on between me and Frank was wrong.
"I just didn't know what to do with that person's reaction, I didn't know why it was wrong, I didn't know whether to feel bad about it, it was just like a massive explosion in my head."
Eleanor, who went on to marry her partner, said a "black shadow" had always loomed over their relationship because of the previous abuse.
he said: "You shut your eyes and it was like Frank was there, not my husband, it was just horrible."
Eleanor said she reported the abuse first to her church, and then to police five years later in 2002.
Initially she did not want to take the matter further, but when Thames Valley Police got in touch in 2017 saying they were investigating McDermott she was determined to work with them.
She believes she was the only one of McDermott's victims to testify against her abuser in court without a screen.
Describing her experience, she said: "I decided not to have the screen, it wasn't because that enabled me to look at Frank, but I just wanted to be empowered with that, I wanted to let him know that he didn't have that hold over me, and that I had done nothing wrong.
"I did think about having a screen but for me I wanted to then return to the court...I wanted to be in the area where he was having to deal with the past and what evilness he had done. And I just wanted to be in the place where that was happening."
She added: "At times I felt sick to my stomach because it brought back things about my childhood and that part of me that I'll never have back, I'll never know what might have been for me, if this had not have happened."
Eleanor said McDermott's denial and lack of remorse was upsetting, and hopes he will spend the rest of his life in jail.
She feels that his jail sentence will prompt her to seek further counselling as she believes it will cause feelings of anger to surface.
She said: "At the moment I can't forgive him for what he did to me and the others. It's horrendous the impact that something like this has, not only on yourself but the people around you, your family, your friends."
But, she added: "I won't let him ruin my life, it hasn't ruined my life, it's made me very, very sad and I think I've missed out on things, but I'm not going to let him hold me down."
After the sentencing an NSPCC spokesperson said: “McDermott used his trusted position as a priest to not only groom children but also their families in order to commit sickening abuse.
“He probably thought he had long got away with his vile crimes but the young people he manipulated and abused all those years ago have today helped put him behind bars.
“Their courage shows that it is never too late to report abuse and for victims who may have suffered for years in silence to come forward and get support.”
Detective Constable Catriona Cameron, of the Child Abuse Investigation Department in Aylesbury police station, said after the trial: “Francis McDermott was a priest in the Catholic Church held in high regard and was a trusted member of the community. He used his position to befriend children for his own sexual gratification.
“The six victims in this case bravely came forward to report the abuse they suffered more than 40 years ago. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their courage and support of this investigation.
“They have been put through the trauma of a trial adding extra distress to them, and McDermott showed no remorse.
“Thames Valley Police will always take reports of any sexual offence seriously and will investigate reports thoroughly whether these are recent or non-recent.
“I hope this is the start of a healing process for all those involved.”
John Baines 44
Had a sexual relationship with the vulnerable 15-year-old girl.
Churchill Road, Bideford, Devon, EX39
A 39-year-old father has been jailed for having sex with a schoolgirl who was less than half his age.
John Baines had an eight-month sexual relationship with the vulnerable 15-year-old girl.
He plied her with the alcopop WKD and other alcohol and took her for treats at McDonalds before the girl realised the relationship was wrong and ended it.
Baines’ infatuation with the teenager led to the break up of his own marriage and she started sneaking away from her home to spend time with him when he set up home on his own.
The victim later told police that meeting him secretly made her feel ‘weird and cringy’, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Car valeter Baines, of Churchill Road, Bideford, admitted four counts of sexual activity with a child and was jailed for three years and four months by Judge David Evans.
He told him: ”You took advantage of the trust which you had generated in her to engage in sexual acts with her. She knew and you knew that what was happening was wrong. It was not just immoral, but illegal.
“You told her you loved her, bought her trainers and took her to McDonalds, you were treating someone who was more than half your age as if you were in a proper adult relationship.
“You treated her in a way in which you should never treat a child, on occasions drinking alcohol with her. You knew she was at a rather vulnerable stage of her life and took advantage of that.”
Mr Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said the sexual activity started when the girl visited Baines’ home and stayed up late with him drinking.
She trusted him as a father figure but the physical contact, which started with kissing and cuddling, developed into sexual acts.
The relationship lasted for about nine months and in that time sexual activity took place at his family home when there was no one else around, and at his new home when his marriage broke up.
On one occasion it progressed as far as full intercourse. She ended the relationship but he carried on contacting her and trying to meet her.
Mr Nicolas Gerasimidis, defending, said Baines was less mature emotionally than his physical age and now regrets what he has done.
He said:”He has lost everything. He has lost his relationship with his wife. He is estranged from his family and particularly his daughter.
"He recognises the damage he has done because of a foolish decision which he now regrets.”