Businessman Stephen Read jailed for two-and-a-half years for sex offences against four boys
A MILLIONAIRE Stroud businessman has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for sex offences against four boys over a fifteen year period.
Stephen Read, 58, the founder and former managing director of Enviro Technology Services, committed the offences when he took boys out on shooting, swimming and boating trips.
At Gloucester Crown Court on Friday, Judge Jamie Tabor QC told Read, from Bussage, that he was receiving a lenient sentence because of his recently diagnosed health problems.
But the judge said there had to be an immediate jail term because Read, who was in a ‘patriarchal’ position in his community, had abused the trust of the boys and their families.
Read was found guilty by a jury last month of two charges of indecent or sexual assault and three of causing boys to view pornography.
The charges related to incidents between 1997 and May last year when the boys were visiting his home or going on outings with him.
Read had denied all the charges and maintained he never did or said anything indecent to the boys.
The offences came to light when a woman driving four 12-year-old boys in her car heard two of them describing Read as a ‘paedo.’
His barrister Jane Rowley told the court: “These offences came out of a genuine desire to do good for these boys.
“He was generous in his time and energy but unfortunately his judgement was flawed.
“What was initially fatherly or uncle-like turned into this behaviour.”
Miss Rowley said Read’s health had taken a ‘significant turn for the worse’ recently.
She said Read suffered already from obesity, sleep apnea and lumbar back problems but now has an additional disease to battle. The disease wasn’t specified in court.
She said a letter from his doctor indicated how difficult time in custody would be for him and he would have to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
She asked the judge to consider delaying sentence by six to eight weeks to enable him to undergo treatment.
But Judge Jamie Tabor said sentence had to be passed now and it had to be immediate custody.
“There were two contrasting images I took away from the trial,” he said.
“On one hand you were a generous figure who founded a successful company that provided employment for many people. You held a position of great responsibility and trust.
“But you took advantage of that trust, particularly with one boy who was young and vulnerable.
“That is unforgivable. I have shown an act of mercy in your sentence.
“You are not a well man.”