Car dealer found guilty of sex abuse
PUBLISHED: 11:39 26 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010
A PERVERTED car dealer is facing years in prison after being found guilty of abusing five young girls over a 14-year period. Graham Pope, 66, had taken advantage of the girls aged between seven and 13 when they stayed over in his homes in Hinxworth, Ashwe
A PERVERTED car dealer is facing years in prison after being found guilty of abusing five young girls over a 14-year period.
Graham Pope, 66, had taken advantage of the girls aged between seven and 13 when they stayed over in his homes in Hinxworth, Ashwell and Guilden Morden. They were friends of his two daughters.
Pope, of Thompsons Meadow, Guilden Morden, pleaded not guilty to 20 charges of indecent assault between 1985 and 2000.
A jury at Luton Crown Court convicted him last Thursday of 15 charges. Four charges were dropped half way through the trial and the jury failed to agree on one charge.
Judge Michael Kay QC remanded Pope in custody and told him he would be sentenced in November. He said: "There will be only one possible sentence, and it will be a sentence measured in years."
During a nine-day trial the jury heard how Pope treated his children's friends to fun activities, but would then use bedtimes and bath times as an opportunity to touch them indecently.
He claimed that nothing indecent happened and that he was the victim of a vendetta by another girl, who had put the girls up to making the allegations.
Ann Evans, prosecuting, said: "There were always children round the house and, by his own admission, he wanted to be seen as a super dad. He had a pilot's licence and took the children flying. He had a tandem bicycle and took the children cycling and he had a sports car and drove the children round."
She said there were striking similarities between the accounts given by the five girls. They told how Pope got involved at bath time and bedtime. He would sponge them in the bath and then rub talc on them.
At bedtime he would tickle or massage them to get them to sleep, but then touch them indecently as they lay in bed. He performed a sex act on one 10-year-old girl while his own daughter slept in the room.
Pope, who ran the Hyundai car dealership in Ickleford, was arrested on August 10 last year and immediately described the allegations as "nonsense".
After being convicted, his barrister Patricia May asked for bail to enable Pope to sort out his business affairs, but it was refused. She said he employed 19 people.
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