A Cranfield man has been jailed for over ten years after pleading guilty to the sexual abuse of a child in a historic case that left his victim haunted by what happened to him.
The victim, man now in his 30s, told police he was haunted by the prolonged sexual abuse as a child but spoke of his relief at finally being able to speak about what happened.
The abuse began when he was aged around 10 in 2000, and continued for approximately five years, only stopping when he was in his mid-teens and at middle school.
Michael Fensom, now 78, of Coronation Road, Cranfield, was arrested in February 2018 and an investigation into the abuse was launched.
He initially denied the allegations but in September 2020 plead guilty to of nine counts of indecent assault on a male, and four counts of sexual activity with a child.
“Someone he trusted as a boy”
“I’ve had to live for years knowing about it, keeping it a secret, writing off my life,” said the victim.
“Since the start of this whole thing with the police, it’s got easier to live with, but it feels like there’s more support there than you could ever imagine.”
At Luton Crown Court yesterday, (Tuesday), Fensom was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison, with an extended 12 months licence period.
He was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.
He pleaded not guilty to a further three charges of indecent assault on a male and two counts of sexual activity with a child, and these charges will lay on file.
Detective Constable Charlie Sermons, from Bedfordshire Police’s Public Protection Unit, who investigated the case, praised the victim for his courage in coming forward.
“Fensom was someone he trusted as a boy, and in return, he subjected him to repeated sexual abuse over several years,” said DC Sermons.
“His victim, fearing he would never be believed, felt unable to tell anyone what was happening until many years later.
“I want to thank the victim for finding the courage to open up and come forward, and I would also like to thank his partner for her support.
“It is never too late to report sexual offences, no matter when they happened, and this case shows that you will be believed, and we will do all we can to see an offender brought to justice.”
The victim also had a message to anyone else who may be experiencing abuse at the hand of another.
“I didn’t want to have that first conversation with a police officer, but when I did, it just felt good,” he said.
“For me to be able to come out and say it after a long time, that helps a lot, and with support, I think I’ll be alright.”
Children experiencing abuse may not always be able to explain what is happening or say how they feel.
The Parents Protect website run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation is a useful resource for information to help spot the signs and prevent child sexual abuse.
The NSPCC website also has a wealth of information on how to talk to your child about staying safe from sexual abuse, including the PANTS underwear rule:
P – Privates are private
A – Always remember your body belongs to you
N – No means no
T – Talk about secrets that upset you
S – Speak up, someone can help
You can find more information and resources on the Bedfordshire Police website.
If you believe a child is being abused you can report it to police by calling 101. If it is an emergency, always call 999.