March 9, 2018
Burnham-On-Sea pensioner Peter Sheppard found guilty of sex abuse

A Burnham-On-Sea pensioner has been found guilty of six counts of sex abuse by a jury at Taunton Crown Court this week.

Peter Sheppard, 75, from Love Lane in Burnham, had denied four charges of indecent assault on a young girl, which allegedly took place between 1992-1994, and one charge of gross indecent assault on a child under 14.

He also denied a charge of indecency with a child, aged between 7-8, which is said to have taken place during the same dates.

Sheppard also denied a charge of indecently assaulting a different girl aged between 12-16 years old between 1991 and 1996.

During the trial at Taunton Crown Court, pictured above, the jury was told that Sheppard had abused and groped his first victim when she was aged around seven or eight. The prosecution said the abuse had carried on for several years.

The court also heard how Sheppard's second victim had been horrified when he forced her to put her hand on him, screaming to leave her alone.

However, Sheppard claimed his accusers were attention-seeking and had tried to stitch him up.

The jury found him guilty on all counts. Those in the court said that when the verdict was delivered he shook his head with his hands shielding his eyes.

Sentencing is due to take place on Friday March 23rd and bail has been denied.

An NSPCC spokesman said after Friday's verdict: "Sheppard preyed on two young and vulnerable girls for his own sexual gratification. His victims will have endured years of emotional turmoil since the abuse, and they must be praised for their bravery in giving evidence in court."

"Abuse can ruin childhoods and have a lasting impact into adulthood, without the right support. Hopefully, this conviction will help these women take a step forward in their lives."

"We need to ensure that people who have been abused feel confident to come forward, safe in the knowledge that they will be believed and their voices heard – no matter how much time has passed."

The NSPCC runs a 24-hour helpline for adults who need support on 0808 800 5000. Help for young people is also available via Childline on 0800 1111.


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