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Abuser may have to sell his home to compensate victims
1:00pm Tuesday 25th September 2012 in Taunton
A SEXUAL predator who abused and raped young children could be forced to sell his home to compensate his victims.
A judge said as the law stands he is unable to punish Gerald Longman for his sick crimes dating from over 50 years ago.
But two of Longman’s daughters – Christina Western and Heather West – who were among his victims and bravely waived their anonymity to tell their story, are taking legal action against him in an attempt to force him to pay compensation which could total over £100,000.
Longman, 78, was given an absolute discharge at Taunton Crown Court two weeks ago as he had been deemed unfit to stand trial due to dementia.
Judge Graham Hume Jones said his hands were tied and he was unable to impose a tougher sentence even though a jury had deemed him guilty of four indecent assaults, two rapes and inciting a girl under 14 to carry out an indecent act when he lived in Wellington.
The judge said: “It’s with the greatest reluctance. It’s most unfortunate there’s nothing I can do in the circumstances.
“I’ve no doubt all those listening to this case will keep a very close eye on the defendant in the future.”
Addressing Longman’s sobbing victims in the public gallery, the judge said: “I’m very sorry at the way this case has happened and ended.
“I hope at least it brings you some closure to help you with the rest of your lives.”
A probation report said Longman, of Manor Fields, Bridport, was judged to be a low risk of re-offending because of his age and mental condition, but his victims have voiced concerns about his access to children and future behaviour.