Former church warden jailed for four-and-a-half years

Ledbury Reporter: Michael Allfrey Michael Allfrey

A PARISH councillor has been jailed for the sexual abuse of young boys on his farm.


Michael Allfrey, 70, of Wildgoose Hill, Hereford Road, Storridge, was today sent to prison for four-and-a-half years after being found guilty of 11 counts of sexual assault and four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.


The offences, which the married father and former church warden denied, relate to the sexual touching of six boys, aged nine to 14, between 2005 and 2011.

Jonas Hankin, prosecuting, told Hereford Crown Court how the children and their families had been affected by the abuse.


“Several of the boys’ behaviour in school since the incident has worsened and their grades have gone down,” he said.


“One of the boys’ mothers told me of how her son sits in bed crying, thinking this is all his fault, and that it is hard to convince him otherwise.”
 

Michael Birnbaum QC, defending, said Allfrey was “a man of good character” and that the abuse was occasional and opportunistic.


He added: “The service this man has given to his community is great – he has been a member of Storridge Parish Council for the past 36-years, nine of which he has been Chairman. He was a church warden for many years and many have told of his unfailing generosity.”


However, Judge Toby Hooper QC said Allfrey “carefully targeted” children he considered not to be a threat to him, and who no one would believe should they speak out.


Allfrey will be signed onto the Sexual Offenders Register and is now subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 10 years which will restrict him from having unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 who is not a blood relation on his land.


Detective Constable Dave Bentley, the officer who led the investigation, thanked all the victims and their families. 

He added: "I would also like to take the opportunity to encourage all victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and as this case shows, it is never too late to report such incidents.”

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