A pensioner who admitted molesting a toddler in a Honiton supermarket has been branded a ‘predatory paedophile’ and jailed for two years and four months.
Derek Finch, 81, of Church Lane, Alfington, near Ottery St Mary, was sent to prison by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court today (Monday, March 9).
Finch admitted sexual assault of a child under 13 years old, breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and two counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
In passing sentence, the judge told Finch: “This was the predatory behaviour of a paedophile and is obviously of great concern.”
The court heard how Finch exposed himself to a three-year-old girl, turning her head so she could see what he was doing.
He was also spotted on CCTV at Iceland, in Lace Walk, Honiton, loitering and touching himself over his clothes while following a different toddler around.
Finch was seen following that child again after he fled the shop, but was arrested nearby.
The court was told how Finch followed a girl toddler, who was out shopping with her mother, around the shop – groping his groin over his clothing as he watched the tot.
Soon after that he noticed a three-year-old girl who had left her mother to look at the ice cream cabinet.
The court heard how Finch approached the toddler, spoke to her while touching himself and moved so his groin next to the child.
He exposed himself and moved child’s head to make sure she could see him.
Finch told police he became aroused knowing that he had been seen touching himself in public.
The judge told Finch: “I have read the mother’s victim personal statement. She has been left feeling angry at how you behaved and incredibly anxious, as any parent would in that situation.”
The court heard what Finch did put him in breach of an existing Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), which bans him from any unsupervised contact with children.
Finch has a previous conviction for sexually assaulting a child in a toy shop in Honiton.
He was jailed for two years and four months and made subject of a new SHPO.
Miss Kelly Scrivener, prosecuting, said the offences happened in the Honiton Iceland store on December 28, 2019.
Police could only trace the mother of one of the children involved, Miss Scrivener said.
Mr Peter Seigne, defending, said Finch had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
He said Finch was a carer for his wife and would struggle to serve a jail sentence because of his age.