Sexual predator jailed
A PENSIONER who was regarded as a pillar of the community is today starting a six-year jail sentence for sexually abusing schoolgirls.George Fuller was a devout churchgoer, community drop-in centre manager and treasurer of his village bingo club, but he was exposed yesterday as a sexual predator who posed a threat to young girls.
A PENSIONER who was regarded as a pillar of the community is today starting a six-year jail sentence for sexually abusing schoolgirls.
George Fuller was a devout churchgoer, community drop-in centre manager and treasurer of his village bingo club, but he was exposed yesterday as a sexual predator who posed a threat to young girls.
The 69-year-old had sexually abused schoolgirls over a period spanning more than two decades – but could have been caught earlier if members of Fuller's church had decided to report him to police.
A court heard Fuller's wife had told church members in the 1980s that she had caught him in a compromising situation with a nine-year-old girl, but it was decided after discussions that the matter would not be reported to the police.
Jailing the pensioner yesterday, Judge Peter Thompson said members of the church had "mistakenly" thought that the matter had not been very serious.
"If they had seen it in its true light, they could have prevented it happening again 20 years later," said the judge.
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Fuller, who was formerly the manager of a drop-in centre in Great Cornard, admitted nine offences of indecent assault and two of sexual activity with a child.
The pensioner, of Lightfoot House, Ipswich, was jailed for six years, given a three-year extended licence period and ordered to sign on the sex offenders' register for life. He was also banned from ever being alone with a female under the age of 16.
Sentencing him, Judge Thompson described Fuller as a "sexual predator" and said he would remain a risk to young girls after his release from prison unless he changed radically.
Peter Gair, prosecuting, said the last offence had been committed earlier this year when Fuller had been at work at the drop-in centre and his wife had called in unexpectedly, catching him in a compromising situation with a young girl.
Ipswich Crown Court was told Mrs Fuller had confronted her husband about what she had seen and said he should go to the police.
Fuller later went to Sudbury police station and said he wanted to report himself to officers.
Further enquiries were made by police, who spoke to four girls who had known Fuller during the past 20 years and who all made allegations of him indecently touching them.
Anthony Bate, mitigating, said Fuller – who had worked as a firefighter, a lorry driver and a builder over the years – had gone voluntarily to the police, but had been unable to explain why he had committed the offences.
Speaking after the hearing, a member of Fuller's family said: "What has happened has shocked the entire family."