June 3, 2021 4.57 pm This story is over 13 months old

Predatory paedophile jailed for abusing children over seven decades

He’ll likely spend the rest of his life in prison

A paedophile who raped and sexually abused young girls for decades faces spending the rest of his life in prison.

William Clapham, 85, carried out his first offences back in 1957 and over seven decades carried out the systematic sexual abuse of girls as young as six-years-old.

Clapham committed offences against seven different girls. He was also convicted of showing pornography to a young boy.

One of his victims died before she was able to see him brought to justice.

Clapham jailed at Lincoln Crown Court on Thursday for a total of 15 years and two months and given an extended licence period of a further two years. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Clapham, 85, of Drift Avenue, Stamford, was found guilty by a jury of offences of rape, attempted rape, indecent assault, sexual activity with a child and causing a child to watch a sexual act following a three week trial.

Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight told him: “You have been convicted after trial of 20 offences against children committed between 1957 and 2013. It is accepted that you will likely die in prison.

“You have over 54 years sought out children to abuse. You have been a predatory paedophile for almost the whole of your adult life. Your offending has had a devastating impact.”

Clapham, who earlier in his life ran a taxi and coach business in Stamford, claimed to the jury he had been framed and his victims were lying.

But the jury found him guilty of a total of 20 charges.

The court was told that back in 1963 Clapham sought electric shock treatment after telling his GP that he had a sexual interest in young children but failed to mention he had already acted on his urges and he then continued to abuse more children over the years.

Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, said the lives of the victims have been ruined by Clapham.

One of the victims, in an impact statement, said: “He makes my skin crawl. He frightens me to death.”

Others spoke of having sleepless nights and having their lives devastated as a result of what Clapham did to them.

Adam Norris, in mitigation, described Clapham as frail and said he has only recently been discharged from hospital.

He told the court: “The very high likelihood is that this will be a sentence that is for the rest of his life. I ask that the sentence is tempered with some humanity.”

Lincolnshire Police’s Investigating Officer DC Helen Morris, of the Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, said: “Clapham has inflicted truly devastating suffering and pain on so many innocent lives.

“We would like to pay tribute to the incredible bravery of the victims, whose assistance has helped to bring Clapham to justice today.

“The verdict and sentence will never make up for what he has done, but we hope that this at least brings some comfort and closure to those affected.”