Man admits sex assault on boy

PUBLISHED: 15:37 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:40 19 April 2018

Scales of Justice

Scales of Justice

Archant

A man has been spared jail after sexually groping a boy, who is now struggling at school as a result of the assault.

Michael Walkerdine, of Thieves Lane, near Panshanger Park, has been given a 10-month sentence, suspended for two years, for intimately groping a drunk youngster in January this year.

The 57-year-old then stayed in the room with the victim for 20 minutes.

Walkerdine, who pleaded guilty to the offence at the first opportunity, has already spent two months in custody.

A statement from the victim was read out today in St Albans Crown Court: “I did not want to go to school [after the incident] because I was frightened the other students would know what happened to me.

“Now I am on my own a lot and my grades have suffered.

“My grades were low and I blame that on the stress.”

He has lost his Christian faith in God since the incident and no longer goes to church.

Christopher Hewertson, for the prosecution, told the court how Walkerdine had apologised to the victim the following morning and tried to silence him from telling the authorities.

Rachel Law, mitigating, said: “It was a very brief momentary lapse to which he [Walkerdine] is very sorry.”

“He accepts what he did do, he accepts the effect it had on [the victim].

“But he has little insight into why he did this, why it happened, how it happened, and although this is not unusual at this stage, it is something he wishes to have support and help with.”

She said Walkerdine was insistent on continuing to financially support his family and if he loses his job, he intends to set up his own business consultancy company.

“He is mortified and he is ashamed.

“He was devastated when he read the victim statement about what he had done and the effect it has had.”

Walkerdine has no previous convictions and 12 good character references were produced in his mitigation.

Recorder Justin Rouse QC said: “I accept that you recognise you have brought shame and shock, not only to [the victim] and his family, but on your own family and your own children and I expect that brings its own burden on your conscience.”

“The impact on him has affected his education, his friends, his confidence and his ability to sleep at night.

“Only time will tell if he will come to terms with what you did.”

Walkerdine must attend 60 rehabilitation sessions and do 180 hours of unpaid work.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times