July 2004

Sex predator loses jail-term appeal

A NEWPORT paedophile was branded “a sex predator” by one of Britain’s top judges as she threw out his appeal against his seven-year jail sentence.

Nigel Christopher Barnes, 60, deserved every day of his jail term for child abduction and indecent assault on children under ten he had groomed with sweets and chocolate, ruled Mrs Justice Hallett and her London Appeal Court colleagues.

In an exclusive interview with the press last December, one of the boys targeted by Barnes said he was taking three or four baths a day to wash away the memories of abuse he had been forced to watch.

The ten-year-old, who was among three boys targeted by Barnes last summer, said at the time: “I just hate him. He’s changed me…I feel dirty.” He added: “I cannot get it out of my head. I want to forget it, but I can still remember every single detail.”

Dismissing Barnes’ appeal, Mrs Justice Hallett, said: “He is a sex predator from whom young children need to be protected for as long as possible and commensurate with the seriousness of the offences.”

The judges also refused to overturn the order banning him from living within 250 yards of a school or children’s play area, despite arguments from his barrister Sarah Ward that his behaviour could be controlled by other means.

The ruling means that Barnes, of Maesglas Avenue, will have to move home when he is eventually released from jail because of the tough restraining order made against him. Barnes pleaded guilty at Cardiff crown court to three counts of child abduction and one of indecent assault against a boy.

He was jailed and ordered to go on the sex offenders’ register for ten years. He was disqualified from working with children as well as having the restraining order made against him.

Appeal court judge Mrs Justice Hallett said the victims, all aged ten or under, were targeted and groomed by Barnes.

He plied them with sweets and chocolates before taking videos of them for pornographic films and indecently assaulted an eight-year-old, she added.

Barnes, who the court heard has a history of sexual offences against children and has served time in jail for taking indecent photographs of them, was caught by the ten-year-old boy’s father who made a “forceful” citizen’s arrest after he heard what had been going on, Mrs Justice Hallett said.

Pre-sentence reports revealed “worringly” that he “does not consider himself a sex offender,” she added.

The judge rejected arguments by Barnes’ counsel that the sentence for child abduction was too long and the indecent assault sentence should not have been made consecutive.