Former teacher from Bury St Edmunds jailed for molesting boy
PUBLISHED: 16:46 28 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:46 28 September 2015
A former school teacher and long term partner of the founder of the Paedophile Information Exchange has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for molesting an 11-year-old boy.
Richard Alston, 70, of Bury St Edmunds, met the now adult victim while working at Cavendish School for “maladjusted boys” in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.
Together with his partner, Peter Righton, the pensioner forced the youngster to watch pornography and then perform sex acts on him.
Alston was today sentenced to a total of 21 months in prison for one count of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child at Southwark Crown Court.
Righton, who is now dead, was a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange - a group set up in the 1970s that campaigned to lower the age of consent.
It was the investigation into Righton, who was convicted of importing child pornography in 1992, that led to MP Tom Watson using parliamentary privilege in 2012 to allege that there was “clear intelligence” of a VIP child sex abuse ring.
Alston met Righton - 19 years his senior - when he was just 16 years old and they spent some 40 years together.
Judge Alistair McCreath today said: “I acknowledge that at the time you committed these offences you were in a very close relationship with an older man who had very particular and aggressive views about the propriety of sexual behaviour with minors and whilst you had the intelligence, maturity and ability to say no I’m prepared to acknowledge that to some extent at least your behaviour was influenced by him.”
He added that Alston had not abused children in the years between the assaults and his conviction, despite having the opportunity to as a teacher.
Alston only nodded as the sentence was passed.
A jury at Southwark Crown Court in London last month cleared Alston of molesting the youngster on school grounds and during a camping trip when he was alleged to have crept into his tent after “story time”.
Despite being cleared of a number of offences, Alston was convicted of incidents that took place when Righton was present and a participant.
Jurors found that he and Righton groomed the schoolboy after he began visiting them at their flat, plying him with alcohol and buying him gifts such as cigarettes and toys.
Although the youngster said nothing of the alleged abuse at the time because he was “embarrassed”, when he was 16 he confronted Righton about what he had been subjected to.
The court heard that Righton and Alston’s friend Charles Napier - now a convicted paedophile - would also be present for some of the meetings with the boy.
Last December, Napier, the half-brother of senior Conservative MP John Whittingdale, was jailed for 13 years for carrying out hundreds of sexual assaults on young boys.
Alston, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was cleared of four counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child.
The jury was unable to reach verdicts on one count each of the same offences and they will now lie on file.
In January 1979 in Aberdeen, Scotland, he was admonished - the equivalent of a caution in English law - after admitting one count of lewd, indecent, libidinous practices, namely placing his hand on a boy’s thigh in the cinema.
Detective Sergeant James Townly, from the sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said: “Alston abused his position of trust to abuse someone who should have been under his care.
“We take allegations of sexual assault seriously and will do everything in our power to bring these cases to the courts - no matter what the passage of time.”