Sex offender jailed 26 years after his crime

The jail gates have closed behind a man more than a quarter of a century after he preyed on an elderly patient of a mental hospital.

JUSTICE finally caught up with Paul Reeve 26 years after carrying out a horrendous sex assault on an old lady in the grounds of a mental hospital.

He was just 15 years old when he attacked the 74-year-old woman after tricking her into going with him into an orchard beside the hospital where she was an in-patient.

Although police questioned Reeve at the time he was never charged with any offence.

But a cold case investigation into the attack on Lilian Taylor and advances in DNA profiling meant that police were finally able to prove that Reeve had carried out the sickening attack.

Reeve, now 41, appeared in the dock at Luton Crown Court on Friday to admit indecently assaulting the widow after threatening her with a knife on the afternoon of Saturday, September 29 1984.

Sitting in court to see Reeve sentenced were members of the old lady’s family, including her son, Jack Taylor, who is himself a pensioner.

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One person not in court was Mrs Taylor herself. She died in 1989 from heart failure and never saw her attacker brought to justice.

In the years following the attack on Mrs Taylor, Reeve had become a skilled chef.

He had married and raised a family and after briefly getting involved in crime during his mid teens had become a responsible and law-abiding adult.

Judge Andrew Bright QC heard that in the 1980s, Reeve’s father ran the social club at Fairfield Hospital which has now closed down.

Reeve, who lived with his parents in nearby Stotfold, was a regular visitor to the hospital and knew its spacious grounds well.

Reeve is now of Main Road, Langworth, Lincolnshire. The court heard his marriage has now broken up and divorce proceedings are under way.

Dee Connolly, defending, said what had happened in 1984 was a “lifetime ago”.

She added: “He is a very different person now.”

She said that before his arrest, his wife had considered her husband to be kind, gentle and loving and a good father to her two children.

Because the maximum sentence for indecent assault back in 1984 was two years, it meant that Reeve could not receive anything longer.

Passing sentence Judge Bright said Parliament had eventually realised the “folly” of such short jail terms and increased the maximum to 10 years.

But he said it meant he had to sentence Reeve based on what he would have received back in 1984.

He described the attack as “horrid and distasteful”.

Giving Reeve credit for his guilty plea, the judge jailed him for 18 months and ordered his name go on the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years.