Hemel Hempstead paedophile becomes the first prisoner to die from coronavirus

The 84-year-old was serving an eight and a half year sentence

A convicted paedophile from Hemel Hempstead has become the first prisoner to die from coronavirus.

Edwin Hillier

Edwin Hillier

Edwin Hillier, 84, of Saturn Way, Hemel, was serving an eight and a half year sentence for abusing girls in the 1970s.

Hillier, a former school caretaker, was taken to hospital from HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire last Friday and died on Sunday.

He was sentenced in February 2016 at St Albans Crown Court by Judge Stephen Warner who told him that he had subjected the victims to "repeated and systematic abuse" for his own "sexual gratification."

Hillier, who had received a suspended jail sentence for a sexual offence against a girl in the 1970s, told one of his victims: "Nobody believes a 10-year-old when she speaks."

COVID-19

COVID-19

Prosecutor Beverly Cripps told St Albans Crown Court that the offences were first reported to the police in 2002 by the boyfriend of one of the victims.

She did not want to proceed at that time, but she eventually made a statement in 2014.

Hillier, a former school caretaker, pleaded guilty to attempted rape and indecent assault on one victim who was aged between ten and 15.

He also admitted two charges of a serious sexual offence (buggery), attempted rape and indecent assault on a girl when she was aged between seven and 14.

Prison

Prison

Edmund Vickers, defending, told the judge: "He seeks to apologise to his two victims for his appalling behaviour all those years ago.

"He was in tears in a very difficult police interview. He has done his best to make amends by pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.

"He said he was a fully grown man and he should have known better. He said it was his 'filthy brain.'"

After his arrest in November 2014, he said Hillier had tried to take his life by cutting his wrists.

Courts

Courts

Mr Vickers went on: "He is now over 80 and in considerable ill health. His health is bad and deteriorating and he is registered blind.

"If he does not end his days in prison, there will not be much of his natural life left if he is released."

Jailing him, Judge Warner told Hillier: "Your victims were young, confused and vulnerable and unable to speak for many years. What you did has had a life-long effect on them."