Prolific child sex offender sentenced to life

Prolific child sex offender sentenced to life

A 60-year-old Bridgwater man has been convicted of a series of non-recent sex offences against children and for falsely imprisoning a mother and child at their home in Bridgwater and has been given a life sentence today.

Mark Lester, of Riverside Close in Bridgwater, was found guilty of 51 offences following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Lester was arrested after entering a house in Dunwear Lane, Bridgwater, on 21 January 2015 as a trespasser. He then threatened a mother and child with a knife, tied them up and committed a sexual assault. He was convicted of two counts of false imprisonment and two counts of sexual assault in connection with this.

Lester was then investigated for non-recent sexual crimes against children and was further convicted of 47 other offences including rape, gross indecency, sexual assault and making/taking indecent images of children,

The non-recent sexual offences related to five victims.

Lester was today sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 18 years.

Det Insp Lindsay Shearlock said following today’s sentencing hearing: “Mark Lester has ruined the lives of his victims and his most recent offence shows his offending was escalating to extremely dangerous levels.

“He was arrested after DNA evidence linked him to a scarf used during the false imprisonment incident in Bridgwater. This unravelled an abhorrent history of offending against children.

“He refused to take responsibility for his actions but the jury saw through his lies and convicted him of 51 offences.

“His offending is the stuff of nightmares and I’m relieved he’s been convicted and jailed so he’s unable to inflict misery on anyone else.

“I’d like to thank all the victims for showing immense bravery in recounting the horrific experiences Lester has put them through and for having the strength to give evidence in court. Their courage is the reason he’s now behind bars.”

Following today’s sentencing, the woman who was the victim of the most recent incident in Bridgwater, released the following statement:

“Since this horrific incident I have seen my {child} lose confidence and become more isolated from friends and adults around them because of the lack of trust in people.

“{My child} has experienced nightmares almost every night and has had to take medication as a result of this.

“As {a} parent I have found this extremely upsetting and difficult to watch my {child} be so upset and traumatised by this. I feel powerless that I cannot make this pain go away.

“We have never been able to step foot into the house since the incident.

“The whole incident has changed our family life forever and it is something we will have to continue to live with and have support for. We have all had counselling on a weekly basis since this incident which will need to continue for some time in the future.

“We have all been left emotionally and mentally scared by this incident and no longer like to leave each other on their own.”

If you’ve been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter how long ago this was committed, please call us on 101 and report the offence to us. You can also contact us online via our website.

If you don’t want to speak to the police, you can self-refer to The Bridge Sexual Assault Referral Centre. They have experts available to help 24/7 365 days of the year. You can call them on on 0117 342 6999 or visit their website

The Bridge provides medical care and emotional and practical support to anyone affected by rape and sexual assault. You can call The Bridge for help and decide about talking to the police later.

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