Chippenham newsagent jailed for sexually abusing boys

This Is Wiltshire: James Palmer James Palmer

A Chippenham newsagent who sexually abused a 13-year-old has been jailed for eight years.

And James Palmer, who also molested three other young lads, will be on licence for a further four years after a judge ruled he posed a danger of further offending.

The 47-year-old started to abuse the youngster in 2003, often in his work van.

Stephen Dent, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court on Thursday, how the lad was helping him in the shop one evening when he complained of having a sore shoulder.

Palmer, who used to be in the Army and has a conviction for manslaughter while in Germany, offered to give the lad a massage.

He told him to lie on the floor and the boy, now a young man, told the police ‘one thing led to another’ and his boss started to touch him.

Mr Dent said the defendant started to see more and more of the lad and showered him with presents and cash.

“These gifts were quite a draw to the boy. By this time the abuse happened more and more frequently. About three times a week,” he said.

Most of the time he would take the lad out in his work van and drive to isolated spots and abuse him.

On other occasions it would take place in the back of the shop when he would sometimes video what he was doing to the teenager.

During the three years period the abuse took place the victim estimated he was given £8,000 by Palmer – much of which he spent on drugs as his life fell apart.

In the five years leading up to the offending he also abused three other boys who he knew though family friends.

He targeted two of them from the age of 13 to 15 years, abusing them many times a week over a three year period.

The third lad was only molested on one occasion when he was a ten-year-old around the turn of the millennium.

Palmer, formerly of Langley Burrell and Chippenham, pleaded guilty to 21 counts of indecent assault and one of sexual activity with a child.

Palmer was jailed for 18 months last year after admitting conning pensioners who had organised a coach holiday.

He also received seven-and-a-half years from a German court in 1995 after being convicted of manslaughter.

Michael Forward, defending, said his client pleaded guilty to all of the matters and the majority were at the earliest opportunity.

Jailing him Judge Douglas Field said: “There are common features in respect of each of your victims. There is clearly an element of grooming.

“I have decided that you have a very deep rooted problem: you are sexually attracted to young boys of this age and that you are a danger within the meaning of the Act.”

As well as jailing him he also disqualified him from working with children, told him he must register as a sex offender for life and imposes a sexual offence prevention order restricting his liberty.

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