Former police officer jailed for historic sexual abuse

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A FORMER detective superintendent for Sussex Police has been sentenced to two and half years for multiple counts of indecently assaulting a minor.

Thomas John Rees, 77, of Harting Road, Wick, appeared at Hove Crown Court on Monday, November 23, to face four counts of indecent assault and one of assault causing actual bodily harm of a minor.

Timothy Raggatt, defending, said the sentence will be for two distinct incidents, one 40 years ago, the other anywhere between 43 and 44 years ago, that have been broken down into five counts.

He said: “There’s no hint of repetition in the last 40 years.”

Mr Rees retired in 1992 as a detective superintendent in Sussex Police after 30 years service.

Mr Raggatt said it was unfair for the court to take into consideration that Mr Rees served as a police officer.

He said: “It was wrong in principle to take that into account, it just happens that that was his job, it plays no part in the sentencing other than his character. It’s an aggravating feature in the case.”

Judge Michael Lawson said it may be an explanation as to why the victim found it difficult to report the incidents at the time.

Mr Raggatt described Mr Rees as a man of ‘exemplary character’.

Mr Rees provided Judge Lawson with clippings to demonstrate his service to the community as a detective superintendent.

Mr Raggatt said: “This is a man of 77 who has built up an enormous credit and who has led an unblemished life for the last 40 years.

“He isn’t the slightest risk to anyone for any reason whatsoever.

“There is no public interest to be served by imprisoning a man of his age. It does not demand a custodial sentence.”

However, Judge Lawson referred to Mr Rees’ crimes as ‘horrendous and barbaric’.

He said: “In one of the cuttings, you send a message to all these villains and refer to there being no acceptable level of crime.”

In reference to the historic nature of the crimes, Judge Lawson said: “”There’s no delay that excuses or expunges offences.

“The essence of these offences are exactly the same then as it is now.”

Judge Lawson said he had taken into account Mr Rees’ exemplary character, but added that a custodial sentence is necessary.

Mr Rees had been found guilty by a jury at a previous hearing. He will receive a total of two and a half years.

Mr Rees received 15 months for count two and 15 months for count five, which will be spent consecutively. Counts one, three and four will be spent concurrently.

He is also to be a registered sex offender indefinitely.

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