Pensioner admits child sex offences dating back 30 years

PUBLISHED: 17:01 26 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:01 26 October 2020

Colin Southgate, 75, was given a suspended sentence for child sex offences at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Colin Southgate, 75, was given a suspended sentence for child sex offences at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A 75-year-old Ipswich man who was arrested for child sex offences dating back more than 30 years after a member of the victim’s family saw him refereeing a children’s football match has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Sentencing Colin Southgate, Judge David Goodin described the offences as “vile, wicked and appalling”.

“Your disgrace is complete and utter and deservedly so,” said the judge.

Southgate, of Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, admitted two offences of indecent assault.

In addition to being given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years he was given two years supervision and a 12 month electronically monitored curfew between 7 pm and 7am.

Southgate was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and ordered to sign the sexual offenders’ register for 10 years.

Nicola May, prosecuting, said Southgate had got the seven-year-old victim to touch his penis during a game of hide and seek in Tunstall Forest.

He had also got her to touch him in the same way after seeing her a couple of years later and taking her to a wooded area at Foxhall.

Afterwards Southgate had told the girl she needed to be a good girl and not to tell anyone what had happened.

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Miss May said that because of her young age the girl had been frightened and confused about what had happened and had been worried when Southgate wanted to be paired with one of her friends during another game of hide-and-seek.

She had also felt uncomfortable when she saw Southgate hanging around when she was going to and from school, said Miss May.

The victim had confided in her mother about what had taken place and when her father had confronted Southgate he had cried and apologised about what he’d done.

The matter wasn’t reported to the police until 2018 after a member of the victim’s family was shocked to see Southgate refereeing an U13 football match and spoke to the FA.

Southgate was arrested in 2018 and made no comment to questions put to him by police.

Miss May said that prior to his arrest Southgate had turned up at his vicar’s home in a distressed state and said he’d been a bad person more than 30 years ago.

Folishade Abiodun, for Southgate, said her client couldn’t provide an explanation for what he’d done all those years ago and was “deeply remorseful”.

Miss Abiodun said her client hadn’t reoffended since the offences which date back to the 1980s.

She said Southgate had worked in the power industry for 30 years and had been married for 54 years.

The court heard that the maximum sentence under the sentencing regime when the offences were committed was five years.

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