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Gloucestershire Business News

Victim's courage praised after conviction of sex offender

A Cheltenham man has been convicted of child sex offences against a 13-year-old boy.

Andrew Roberts, 49, of Bath Road, was yesterday found guilty of the rape of a child following a five-day trial at Bristol Crown Court.

The assault happened in a toilet at Regent Arcade Shopping Centre and Roberts did not know the boy with nothing to suggest grooming or any prior or post contact. 

Detective Constable William Clark said: "This type of random sexual assault, while rare, is a truly terrifying thing for anyone to endure and I would like to pay tribute to the young victim for the courage he has shown in coming forward and seeing this through.

"I would also like to thank the victim's family for their ongoing support, and also pass my thanks to the security staff at the Regent Arcade who helped in securing key evidence in the early stages of the investigation.

"I want to reassure the public that we take any reports of incidents like this extremely seriously and we will do everything we can to bring the perpetrators to justice."

The trial was one of the first to take place since the outbreak of COVID-19 with the victim able to give evidence via a video link from a location many miles away from Bristol.

Rachael Scott, a senior district crown prosecutor for CPS South West, said: "All of us within the Criminal Justice System have worked hard to ensure that cases where there are vulnerable victims can still take place.

"In this case there was a vulnerable young person and it was imperative for their welfare that the trial took place as soon as possible.

"The CPS will play its part to ensure future cases similar to this will be dealt with in this way wherever we can."

Roberts will be sentenced on June 24 at Bristol Crown Court.

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