Gravesend pensioner jailed for plying children with alcohol and cigarettes before abusing them

PUBLISHED: 14:29 22 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:29 22 July 2013

Donald Down

Donald Down


A pensioner who plied young boys with alcohol and cigarettes before sexually abusing them in a Gravesend home has been jailed for eight and a half years.

Donald Down asked three young boys to call him ‘grandad’ and engaged in sexual activity.

The 76-year-old, of Winchester Crescent, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity at Maidstone Crown Court on July 12.

His co-conspirator Michael Stone, 20, faced charges of rape, attempted rape, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, three offences of sexual assault of a child and one of sexual activity with a child.

The court heard he was unfit to stand trial because of mental health issues and he was convicted of one count of sexual assault and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity in his absence.

Stone, of Valley Drive, was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act on Friday (July 19).

One of the boys claimed Stone had held his arms behind his back whilst Down performed a sex act on him, while another alleged that the pair had sexually touched him. It was also claimed that Down was seen performing a sex act on a third boy.

The first allegation was made on January 1 this year and Down was arrested two days later.

In police custody Down was found with a handwritten list of children’s names, which he claimed were youngsters that he was ‘having trouble with.’

He denied all allegations and claimed the boys went to his address to see Stone.

In Stone’s police interview he claimed Down had been interfering with the boys.

Investigating officer, Det Con Martin Carter of Kent Police, said: “What these two men did, inviting three innocent young boys back to Down’s house and plying them with alcohol and cigarettes before subjecting them to a number of sickening sexual acts, is quite frankly beyond comprehension.

“Both Down and Stone denied what they had done and tried to deflect the blame on the other.

“On behalf of Kent Police, I would like to praise the bravery of these young boys who showed not only displayed great courage in speaking up about what had happened to them, but then had to relive it when giving evidence that in the end secured the conviction.

“That bravery has led to these two men being exactly where they should be; off the streets and no longer a danger to the public.”

Upon sentencing Stone, Judge Michael Carroll, said: “This is about managing the risk of serious harm to members of the public. I must make a restriction order without limit of time.”

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