As his abuser is sentenced for 10-and-a-half years, a man in his 30s, haunted by prolonged sexual abuse as a child, has told of his relief at finally being able to open up and speak about what happened to him.
The abuse began when he was aged around 10 in 2000, and continued for approximately five years, only stopping when he was in his mid-teens and at middle school. He finally found the courage to speak to police in 2018, after confiding in his partner about what had happened.
Michael Fensom, now 78, of Coronation Road, Cranfield, was arrested in February 2018, initially denying the allegations, and an investigation into the abuse was launched.
In September 2020, Fensom pleaded guilty to of nine counts of indecent assault on a male, and four counts of sexual activity with a child.
At Luton Crown Court yesterday, (26 January 2021), Fensom was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison, with an extended 12 months licence period. He was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.
He pleaded not guilty to a further three charges of indecent assault on a male and two counts of sexual activity with a child, and these charges will lay on file.
Telling how Fensom had sexually abused and indecently assaulted him, using excuses to get him on his own at his home, and on trips out, the victim said:
“I’ve had to live for years knowing about it, keeping it a secret, writing off my life.
“Since the start of this whole thing with the police, it’s not easier to live with, but it feels like there’s more support there than you could ever imagine.
“I didn’t want to have that first conversation with a police officer, but when I did, it just felt good.
“For me to be able to come out and say it after a long time, that helps a lot, and with support, I think I’ll be alright.”
Detective Constable Charlie Sermons, from Bedfordshire Police’s Public Protection Unit, who investigated the case, said:
“It took a lot of courage for this man to open up and admit what had happened to him as a child.
“Fensom was someone he trusted as a boy, and in return, he subjected him to repeated sexual abuse over several years. His victim, fearing he would never be believed, felt unable to tell anyone what was happening until many years later.
“I want to thank the victim for finding the courage to open up and come forward, and I would also like to thank his partner for her support.
“I know that this sentence won’t bring back those lost years, but I hope seeing Fensom jailed will give him some closure.
“It is never too late to report sexual offences, no matter when they happened, and this case shows that you will be believed, and we will do all we can to see an offender brought to justice.”
Detective Inspector Martin Eaton said:
“We know only too well that a victim may carry this burden for many years before they are ready to open up about what has happened.
“If you are experiencing, or have ever been subjected to, sexual abuse, please report it, don’t carry this by yourself.
“Our specially trained officers, together with a network of partner agencies, are ready to listen, and can support and guide you through an investigation and beyond.”
Children experiencing abuse may not always be able to explain what is happening, or say how they feel. Parents and carers can visit the Parents Protect website , which is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, for information and resources to help spot the signs and prevent child sexual abuse.
The NSPCC website also has a wealth of information on how to talk to your child about staying safe from sexual abuse, including the PANTS underwear rule:
P – Privates are private
A – Always remember your body belongs to you
N – No means no
T – Talk about secrets that upset you
S – Speak up, someone can help
You can find more information and resources on the Bedfordshire Police website.
To report child sex abuse, call 101. In an emergency, always call 999.