Les Merton

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‘Dark, sinister and depraved’ Cornish bard jailed for child sex abuse

Published January 21, 2015 by misty534

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A Cornish bard from Redruth is facing years in prison after being found guilty of child sex abuse.

Les Merton, a 70-year-old from Redruth has been jailed for 13 years after being found guilty of a raft of offences against girls as young as seven.

The offences happened between 1983 and 2004, with Merton guilty of 16 indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child.

Called a paedophile with a “dark, sinister and depraved side” to his personality by Judge Christopher Clark, Merton, was also made the subject of a sexual offences order.

In 2005 Merton accepted a police caution for entering his credit card details into a website hosting indecent images of children, but had claimed that this was a mistake which happened whilst carrying out research into the Russian mystic, Rasputin.

In 2002 he founded Poetry Cornwall / Bardhonyaeth Kernow. In the same year his poem “Gud News” won the Cornish Gorsedd, and in 2004 he was made a bard of that organisation for his services to Cornish literature

His guide to the Cornish dialect entitled Oall Rite Me Ansum?: a salute to Cornish Dialect, was published in 2003

This is West Cornwall

‘Rasputin research’ led bard Les Merton to indecent images of children

Published January 15, 2015 by misty534

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A Cornish bard accused of abusing young girls mistakenly accessed a website with indecent images of children while researching Rasputin, he told a court.

Les Merton, 70, wept at Truro Crown Court as he denied abusing the girls over a 20-year period.

Asked why he had given the site his credit card details, Mr Merton said he had “naively” entered them while researching the Russian mystic.

He accepted a police caution in 2005 over the matter. The trial continues.

Mr Merton is a poet and author of The Official Encyclopaedia of the Cornish Pasty.

He has pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of indecent assault and four of indecency with a child from 1983 to 2004.

Rasputin defence

When asked by defence barrister Jo Martin, if he had sexually abused any of the women who gave evidence against him, Mr Merton, 70, of Penryn Street, Redruth, replied: “No.”

Mr Merton broke down in tears in the witness box as he gave evidence relating to the time of the alleged abuse.

Ms Martin asked the defendant how he had come to enter his details on what she described as a child pornography website, which led to him accepting the police caution.

The defendant told the court he had been researching Rasputin online and had accidentally gone onto the site and “naively” entered his details.

“I didn’t look at any images once I saw the thumbnail images,” he said.

Cornish bards are appointed by the Cornish Gorsedh which honours people for “outstanding contributions to Cornwall and its ancient culture, history and language”.

The trial continues.

BBC news