'Predator' jailed for filming and abusing young girls

Dorset Echo: Barry Clarke Barry Clarke

A ‘CALCULATING PREDATOR’ who abused young girls and secretly filmed children changing on the beach has been jailed.

Barry Clarke, of Forum Green, Dorchester, bribed his victims with sweets and money and threatened them not to tell anyone, Dorchester Crown Court heard.

The 67-year-old paedophile admitted seven counts of gross indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault which all took place in the 90s.

He was jailed for nine years by Judge Roger Jarvis, who called Clarke a ‘predatory paedophile’ who ‘exploited young children for your own sexual gratification.’ All three victims were aged between nine and 16 when the abuse happened.

The court heard that when police searched Clarke’s home they found 1,000 hours of video footage – some showing children in his bedroom and on the beach.

Clarke had edited one clip, prosecutor Robert Pawson said, so that it looked as though his private parts were touching a young girl.

Mr Pawson added: “He has clearly set up the camera on the beach and walked down to the waterline so he is in close proximity to them.

“In one clip he is on a nudist beach and as he crosses on the seaside, between him and the camera there’s a child aged between nine and 11.

“He has later gone home and edited it so that it appears that his private parts are touching the girl’s body.”

In another clip shown to the court, a young girl is heard calling Clarke a ‘pervert,’ to which he replies ‘no, I’m a filmmaker’ before asking her and others to eat ice lollies for the camera.

None of the children in the footage shown to the court were victims in the case and it does not form the basis for any of the counts.

But Mr Pawson said he wanted to show it to the court because had there been a trial, it would have been played – and Clarke denied his crimes right up until the day of the trial.

This, Mr Pawson said, added ‘significant’ stress to the victims, who thought they were going to have to be cross examined about what he had done to them.

Had Clarke committed the crimes today, some would have been classed as rape and the judge would have been able to impose a longer sentence.

Mr Pawson said paying the young girls made it feel like ‘prostitution’ and was a ‘very clever way of ensuring that a 10 or 12 year-old girl felt she was involved.’ All three victims said they felt ‘disgusted’ at what they had been made to do.

In mitigation, Tim Shorter said he would not remark on the ‘principle’ of imprisonment because Clarke was ‘under no illusion that a sentence of imprisonment would be inevitable.”

Sentencing Clarke to 18 months each for five counts, two of which are concurrent, and 20 months for one count, 22 months on another count and 12 months for the indecent assault – all to be served consecutively – Judge Jarvis said: “The victims had no real idea of what was going on.

“You groomed them, you gave them money and presents. You exploited some of their individual vulnerabilities. You made a threat to them to comply.”

He added: “I have heard about the effect on these victims now they are adults. Some of them have ongoing feelings of disgust and shame at what it is they were party to.

“And though it was no fault of their own, there has been a permanent impact on at least some of them.”

Clarke will be subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

Victim's friend: 'More could have been done'

A FRIEND of one of Clarke’s victims says more needs to be done to protect children from paedophiles like him.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said Clarke ‘should have got life imprisonment’.

The court heard that Clarke was investigated several years ago when a neighbour saw children entering his home.

However, the investigation was halted because victims would not say what had happened to them, the court was told.

Speaking after the sentencing, the woman said: “In those circumstances, the police need to be doing more. Of course the children didn’t say anything, he was manipulating young vulnerable girls. He was living very close to a school and a park. More could have been done.

“Children need to be taught that there is no shame in it, they can and should speak up.

“The law also needs to be changed so that he could have got a sentence similar to what he would have got if he committed the crimes today.”

A police spokesman was unable to comment on the previous investigation.

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