Published: 00:17, 22 August 2014
| Updated: 17:36, 22 August 2014
A Sandwich sweet shop owner who lured children into taking chocolates so he could hand out his own kind of punishment has been jailed for 15 months.
Edwin Griggs, now 82, sexually abused two young girls aged 11 and 13 when they came into his premises in Strand Street 40 years ago.
He denied three historic indecent assaults but was convicted by a jury of all charges.
At his trial in June Canterbury Crown Court was told that Griggs owned and ran The Chocolate Box in Sandwich with his wife Alice, who died from cancer two years ago.
One victim revealed how she went into the shop with a friend, who was then accused by Griggs of stealing an egg from a shelf. She was told to leave, but her friend was kept inside the shop.
Weeks later the victim returned to the shop where Griggs took her into another room and told her to stand with her back to a chair. He ordered her to lift up her dress and knickers and then fondled her buttocks with both his hands.
The second victim went into the shop in the early 1970s with a friend and the two were deliberately left alone.
Griggs then ordered the friend to leave and accused the girl of stealing, which she denied, and then ordered her to remove her jeans and underwear.
The jury was told that Griggs took advantage of young girls visiting his sweet shop by giving them the opportunity to shoplift and then threatening them with exposure to their parents or the police.
On Friday Griggs appeared for sentence at Canterbury Crown Court where Lucy Luttman, defending, said he had no access to young children now.
“These children were like moths to a flame to your sweet shop. You planned what you did over a period of time and tricked and deceived them." - Judge James O’Mahony
He had no previous convictions and the offences were made up of a maximum of four occasions for a period of five months in 1974.
“His loss of good character has been a very real punishment for him,” Miss Luttman said. “He has no family and friends and lives the life of a hermit since his wife died.”
Judge James O’Mahony said: “These children were like moths to a flame to your sweet shop. You planned what you did over a period of time and tricked and deceived them.
You set out a trap for them and using your age and authority got them in another room in the shop and under the guise of physical chastisement you fondled their bottoms for your sexual gratification.
“The last thing they could do is tell their parents about it because under deliberate temptation from you they may have stolen a sweet from the counter. The seriousness of this matter is the way you tricked and deceived them.
“You said it was just chastisement but it wasn’t. It was sexual gratification. You still deny your sexual motivation and said the girls did this out of spite. You still speak of these victims in derogatory terms.”
In addition to the jail term Judge O’Mahony ordered Griggs to pay the £2,200 costs of the trial.
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