The long term lover of a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange was jailed for 21 months today for sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in the 1970s.
Richard Alston, 70, of Robin Hood Court, Bury St Edmunds, had a previous conviction for sexual assault, yet he was able to teach at a school in Middlesex.
Alston was the boyfriend of notorious paedophile Peter Righton, who had an ‘active and aggressive sexual interest in children’.
Together they plied the boy with gifts including beer, cigarettes, silk swimming trunks and a remote control plane before abusing him after watching a pornographic film.
Shortly after his 16th birthday the victim plucked up the courage to confront Righton but was scared into silence after the abuser boasted of the couple’s ‘connections to powerful people’.
Last month bespectacled Alston was convicted of indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Alston was cleared of a further four counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on a remaining charge of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child and the offences were ordered to lie on file.
Judge Alistair McCreath told Alston: “I am satisfied that there are three culpability factors present in this case.
“There was a clear abuse of trust arising from the fact that the complainant was or had been a pupil of the defendant.
“Secondly the offence was part of a joint enterprise between the defendant and at least one other and thirdly the child was significantly younger that the defendant who, although younger than he now is, was a fully grown and developed adult.”
Judge McCreath added: “I have regard to two particular factors, one is that at the time you committed these offences you were in a very close relationship with an older and dominant man who had very particular and aggressive views about the propriety of sexual behaviour with minors.
“Much more importantly is the fact that the offending happened between 35 and 37 years ago. That in itself does not constitute mitigation, however you have in the meantime not reoffended.”
Alston had ‘constant contact’ with children and had not abused again, noted the judge.
Oxford alumni Alston had insisted to jurors that he never touched the child but said ‘it is possible’ Righton, who he was in a relationship for 40 years, abused the boy.
Righton, who died in 2007, was convicted in September 1992 for possession of child porn and is widely believed to have been influential in a powerful network of child abusers.
Prosecutor Peter Clement said: “It is Righton who set up the Paedophile Information Exchange, there is no evidence to suggest that this defendant was a member, active or otherwise, of that organisation.”
Simon Spence, for Alston, said: “Mr Alston, commendably or otherwise, has remained loyal to Peter Righton up to his death and beyond.”
Alston ‘exploited and breached the trust that came with his position and he breached it for his own sexual gratification’.
He was convicted of performing a sex act on the victim and forcing the victim to perform a sex act on him at his flat after watching a pornographic film.
The victim was forced to parade in front of the paedophile couple in a pair of silk swimming trunks they gave him.
He told jurors he was bowled over after receiving a 75 pence tip for delivering milk to the couple’s home as it was ‘a lot of money in those days’.
“I was fine with going to their house, they seemed to be really nice guys,” he said.
“In a word I wouldn’t want for anything, I could get whatever I liked – toys, sweets, anything, money –they were always very generous.”
On one occasion he was plied with alcohol mixed with lemonade until he passed out on a bed at the couple’s flat.
It was only when researching a book that the alleged victim stumbled across an article about Righton that he plucked up the courage to contact investigators.
The abuse drove him to drink as a teenager, later leading him to be ‘secretive and insular’ and ultimately contributing to the breakdown of his marriage.