Sex abuser likely to spend rest of his life behind bars
Exclusive Man tried to blame offending on first victim, an 8-year-old abused in 1960s
An 82-year-old South Auckland man has been jailed for likely the rest of his life for more than 50 years of “serious and sustained” sex offending against little girls.
Peter Brian Ashford claimed the girls “wanted it” and he tried to blame his offending on his first victim, saying if she had reported him to the police he would have been stopped long ago.
Ashford was jailed for 12 years and eight months by Judge John Bergseng in the Manukau District Court on Friday.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to 27 charges relating to girls aged between 8 and 13 including rapes and attempted rapes, sexual violations and indecent assaults.
Ashford began offending in the 1960s when he was in his early 30s.
He lived in a caravan at various places in the Whanga¯rei and Auckland areas.
The Herald cannot publish details of his victims, but all were known to him and were often left alone with him.
His first victim was just 8 when Ashford set his sights on her.
The second victim was abused by Ashford for three years in the 1980s, starting when she was 13.
From 2006 until after he turned 80 in 2016 he repeatedly abused a group of girls aged between 8 and 11. Often, the sexual abuse was seen by other children. On one occasion he lined up five girls and sexually abused them in turn.
Ashford would “reward” the girls for submitting to the abuse with food or money. He threatened them, saying if they told anyone what he was doing they would be punished.
Judge Bergseng revealed that when speaking to the a court report writer, Ashford tried to minimise his offending.
“You articulated to the report writer that on numerous occasions you didn’t know what you were doing was wrong, stating ‘they don’t teach you those things’.” he said.
“No victim empathy was present, nor regret or remorse for your actions; you denied causing harm to your victims.
“You attributed blame to [the first victim] for not reporting you to the police . . . because if you had been caught and prosecuted you may not have gone on to offend against other victims,” the judge said.
“You justified some of your offending against your victims by stating ‘she wanted it’.”
In relation to the more recent offending, Ashford claimed he “did not hurt them” and that they “enjoyed it”.
Ashford told his lawyer Wendy Andrews he “got away with it” for a long time but now his offending had been revealed he was “very remorseful and ashamed of his conduct”.
“It’s terrible these girls weren’t protected.
“All of that is acknowledged by him . . . He has said time and time again he expects to die in prison.”
Judge Bergseng said there was no indication Ashford was genuinely remorseful.
He said Ashford had difficulty taking responsibility for his actions and was highly prone to minimising his offending and trying to shift the blame on to the girls.
Based on all the offending and the aggravating factors — the decades, levels and amount of abuse, damage to the victims and the significant breach of trust — Judge Bergseng adopted a starting point of 20 years in prison for Ashford.
He then gave a discount of 25 per cent for the early guilty plea which spared the victims from a lengthy trial and a small discount for his old age and mildly declining health.
He refused to give any further discount for previous good character.
“This is 50 years of offending,” he said. “It may well be that you never walk out of prison.” Ashford must serve half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. Judge Bergseng also ordered him to pay reparation of more than $100,000 — money he has access to after he sold his property while in prison — to the victims.
Peter Brian Ashford