Month: January 2016

Ex-Dragon in Court over Child Sex Abuse Claims

Ex-Dragon’s Den star, Doug Richard, has been charged with 5 child sex abuse offences. It is alleged he paid a 13 year old girl money to be his ‘sex slave’, after making contact with her through a ‘sugar daddy’ website.

Online Encounter

The Old Bailey heard this week that 57 year old Richard spanked the girl multiple times before having sex with her. Richard, a former business advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron, allegedly paid the 13 year old and her 15 year old friend a total of £480 to travel to London and meet him.

Richard is said to have advertised himself as a ‘sugar daddy’ on the online site ‘Seeking Arrangements’. The court heard that police had recovered numerous online exchanges between Richard and the 13 year old that had been deleted. In one conversation, Richard asked if the girl was free and available to come to London to see him after school. The jury heard that when the girl replied to say that she couldn’t and could they rearrange, Richard told her he would only wait to meet her another time if she sent ‘sexy’ photos of herself , ‘wearing less clothing’ and in ‘more revealing positions’. Richard said to the girl:

‘I will make a deal with you. I will wait for the following week if you send me those photos you promised.’

He also told her to send pictures of herself in a ‘submissive pose’ before going on to say:

‘On your hands and knees so I can see you helpless and exposed… [this is the] first task for your new daddy – get it wrong and I will have to spank you’

To which the 13 year old replied:

‘You are my new daddy – I will do anything to make you happy.’

Gino Connor, prosecuting, told the court:

‘The male was an experienced 56-year-old at the time,

‘It should have put him on notice at that point, having seen the photos of her, that she was young – 13 years old.’

London

Connor went on to say that the girls travelled to London on 2 January 2015 and purchased their train tickets with the £120 that Richard had transferred to a PayPal account for them. Richard then picked the girls up from Liverpool Street station, before taking them to a café where he asked how old they both were. The girls said they were 16 and 17.

Richard then took the girls to an aparthotel were he proceeded to ask them if they would be his ‘slaves’. The Old Bailey was told that the older girl kissed Richard on the lips for about half a minute, however she thought he was ‘horrible and smokey’ and rebuffed his offer to be his slave.

It is alleged that Richard then focused his attentions on the younger girl, who agreed to have sex with the entrepreneur. Mr Connor told the court:

‘The defendant told the girl to remove her items of clothing one by one. She was compliant and undressed completely until naked. He told her to remove his clothing which she did. He spanked her on about seven occasions.’

Jurors heard how Richard instructed the 13 year old to perform a sex act on him whilst her friend looked on. Richard and the girl then moved into an adjoining room where it is claimed they had intercourse. Video footage of a police interview with the fifteen year old was played to the court, in which she claimed she could hear her younger friend ‘whining’ form the other room but could not see what was happening.

According to the 15 year old, she herself entered the other room at one point, where she witnessed her friend perform another sex act on Richard, after which she fled the room in tears. The girl added:

‘She called for me. I went to see her. She was crying. She looked like a mess.’

Following the alleged child sex abuse offences, it is claimed Richard gave the girls money to go shopping and called them a taxi. When the girls arrived home later that day, the older girl’s mother noticed that there had been an unusual deposit in her daughter’s bank account and called the police.

Arrest

Three days later, Richard was arrested at a central London hotel where he allegedly asked a police officer:
‘Can I ask you a hypothetical question? What if I thought she was over 16 but she was in fact under 16?”
The officer advised him to seek advice from his lawyer, to which Richard responded, ‘Under 16, wow’. Richard gave an answer of ‘no comment’ when questioned by police.

The prosecution added:

‘I suspect there is going to be no dispute as far as the sexual activity is concerned.’

‘When you look at the photographs of this girl, and the defendant had seen the photographs, he had also seen photographs of her naked, you need to ask yourselves whether he is telling the truth when he says he thought she was 16 or over.’

In her police interview, the then fifteen year old told of how her younger friend had begun chatting to a man online and said that they wanted a ‘sugar daddy’, because “a sugar daddy, they can spoil you and take care of you and boys my age just want to have sex.” But on the day that the alleged offences took place she presumed they would just be sightseeing around London.

Child Sex Abuse Charges

US born Richard, who appeared as a ‘dragon’ on the BBC programme Dragon’s Den for the first two seasons, has been charged with three charges of sexual activity with a child and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He has also been charged with paying for sexual services.

Richard denies all five charges of child sex abuse brought against him but admits to having consensual sexual relations with the thirteen year old as he believed she was sixteen or older.

The trial, which continues, is taking place at the Old Bailey before Judge Mark Lucroft QC and is expected to last 5 days.

Child sex abuse claims – expert advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing child sex abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your or your child’s situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Mail Online

Newlyweds Fall Ill on Honeymoon in Sharm el Sheikh

Newlyweds Stacey and Marc Wilson were left distraught after their ‘dream honeymoon’ to Sharm el Sheikh was ruined by holiday illness.

Severe Holiday Illness Symptoms

Just days after arriving at the 4* resort, Coral Sea Aqua Club, Stacey, 24, began to suffer feelings of nausea and stomach cramps, as well as diarrhoea and vomiting. According to the couple, the severity of Stacey’s holiday illness symptoms meant that she could not venture far from their hotel room and so could not fully enjoy the leisure facilities on offer at the hotel.

Despite the Egyptian resort’s rating, the couple claim there was a smell of sewage near the pool and that the toilets were often poorly sanitised.

Dream Honeymoon – Ruined

The couple also allege food served in the restaurant of the hotel of an evening appeared to be the same food served earlier that day, only re-heated. They noticed that food that had been left sitting out a while was often topped up with new food rather than replaced and that crockery and cutlery was often unclean. As well as this, they claim food was left uncovered for long periods of time, despite there being flies in the restaurant.

Stacey, who had travelled to Egypt with her new husband and six year old daughter, eventually had to be hooked up to an IV drip at the hotel clinic as her symptoms continued. The newlywed was also given anti-biotics to help ease her holiday illness, however after returning home she claims she is still suffering:

“This holiday should have been a time to celebrate our wedding with our daughter, but it was completely ruined by the illness that I suffered.

“I spent days staying close to my room due to the awful symptoms, which meant I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have liked to with my husband or daughter.

“We’ve been left devastated by this experience and it was the worst holiday that we have ever been on.”

Stacey added:

“Hopefully, by taking legal action we will get some answers about what happened and I hope that other people don’t have to go through what I went through.

“I am sad that my honeymoon was ruined and the awful memories will stay with us for life.”

Thomson’s Response

Thomson, the company through which the holiday was booked, released the following statement to MailOnline Travel:

“We are sorry to hear of the Wilson’s experience during their holiday to Egypt.

“As we understand this case is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

“The ultimate priority for Thomson is the health, safety and comfort of all our customers. We operate stringent health and hygiene procedures in line with industry standards.”

Holiday Illness Claims – Expert Advice

Shiamli Mehta-Cronie, Head of Holiday Illness Claims at Hampson Hughes Solicitors, said:

“Hampson Hughes is currently instructed by numerous clients who have also fallen victim to the poor standards of hygiene at this resort.

“Tour operators need to be held accountable for the failures of their hotels and resorts. Deficiencies in hygiene standards breed infection and cause outbreaks of holiday illness causing symptoms of sickness, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and dehydration.

“I would encourage anyone who has fallen ill whilst on a package holiday at this hotel to contact our dedicated holiday illness claims team for expert and friendly advice on whether they may be able to make a successful no win no fee claim for compensation.”

If you have suffered illness whilst staying at the resort mentioned in the above article, or for more information as to whether or not you are able to claim compensation following illness whilst on an all-inclusive package holiday, contact Hampson Hughes today for free and friendly, no obligation advice on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Child Sex Abuse: Lower Burden of Proof Proposed

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has recently proposed lowering the burden of proof required in cases of child sexual abuse, adding that the system that is currently in place is ‘not fit for purpose’.

Poppi Worthington

The commissioner’s suggestion comes after a ruling made by a family court judge with regards to the case of 13 month old Poppi Worthington. Based on the ‘civil standard of balance of probabilities’, the judge ruled that Poppy was sexually assaulted by her father before her death.

Poppi Iris Worthington died in December 2012 and her father, Paul Worthington, 46, and a 30-year-old woman were later arrested. However, the initial investigation – in which there were a number of police failures – ruled that the cause of death could not be determined and their bail was cancelled. A second police inquiry was then carried out in 2015.

Following this, it was decided by the by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that Mr Worthington would not face criminal charges due to the lack of evidence needed to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Child sex abuse: Difficulty obtaining & providing evidence

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Longfield explained:

“What this case really sharply illustrates is the difficulty there is in giving evidence in the case of child sex abuse, especially within the family.

“We know that the vast majority of cases aren’t reported in the first place, but even those that are reported, the vast majority don’t go to court because the evidence just isn’t there. And when looking at the burden of beyond reasonable doubt, it’s very sharply in contrast to the kind of ruling we saw from the judge last week, which is about balance of probability.”