The UK's fastest-growing regional news network
°C | 11°C
22°C | 13°C
20°C | 10°C
See the full forecast for your area.
Sponsored by Britelite.
Home Thanet News Article
A vile elderly sex pervert who attacked two children has been given a sentence that will mean he is expected to die in prison.
Doctors have said 88-year-old Alfred Hynds, from Margate, has only months to live because of lung cancer.
A judge said the Second World War veteran's rapes and indecent assaults on the girls merited 18 years behind bars.
But because of his age and medical problems, she told Hynds - who walks with a frame - she would cut that sentence to 14 years.
Judge Heather Norton said Hynds had tried to claim he had been the victim, accusing one of the schoolgirls as being "provocative and suggestive" and claiming the second had lied.
But a jury at Canterbury Crown Court rejected his claims and convicted him on all 14 charges of rape and indecent assault.
The judge then ordered the courtroom to be cleared "so he could be taken away by prison staff with dignity".
Hynds, of Cobbs Place, was found guilty after a prolonged trial that began on March 10 and in which the jury had to hear evidence for just two hours a day.
He should have gone on trial in August and then again in January, but on each occasion he claimed he could not face trial because of his medical condition.
His lawyers then appealed to the Attorney General to issue a nolle prosequi, which would have ended the prosecution. It was rejected.
And after studying his medical records and hearing evidence from a hospital consultant via a TV link, the judge ruled that despite his claims, Hynds was fit to stand trial.
"He had been sent home to die. He will spend the rest of his life in prison and will die in prison. It is the equivalent to a whole life sentence..." - barrister Paul Hogben
A second victim thanked the jury "for believing me and for changing my life".
Hynds' barrister Paul Hogben turned to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice to plea for a sentence that would mean he would not have to die in custody.
Quoting from the character Portia's "quality of mercy" speech, Mr Hogben said justice should be seasoned with mercy, adding: "Without mercy, there is no justice."
The barrister said: "I could see at an early stage that there was a compelling and overwhelming case again Mr Hynds.
"And I could see that at the end of the trial process would result in the court deciding whether to imprison a man for the remainder of his life."
He then quoted from Banks, the judges' "Bible", saying that "it must always be remembered that sentencing is an art rather than a science... that leniency is not in itself a vice and that mercy should season justice is as soundly based in law as it is in literature".
Mr Hogben said Hynds had been told in January he had less than a year to live, he has a pacemaker, his heart is working at 35% and his breathing at 65%.
"He had been sent home to die, he said. "He will spend the rest of his life in prison and will die in prison. It is the equivalent to a whole life sentence."
Click here for more news from Thanet.
Click here for more news from around the county.