A convicted child abuser is in intensive care in hospital after a suspected drugs overdose just before he was due to be sentenced.
Just an hour before he was due in the dock at Lincoln Crown Court Ambrose Clifton was admitted to hospital after a suspected drugs overdose.
Clifton, 71, of South Reston, near Louth, had been due to be sentenced for offences of rape, sexual activity with a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and taking and making indecent photographs.
The rape charge involved a child under the age of 13.
Recorder Gareth Evans QC issued a warrant for the arrest of Clifton when he is medically fit to be released from hospital.
The court was told that Clifton, who was convicted following a trial earlier this year, is currently detained in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Lincolnshire.
Just before the Market Rasen Mail went to press, Clifton was still in intensive care and said to be in a “poorly but stable” condition.
Clifton - a former chairman of Brookenby Parish Council - denied all the charges but was found guilty by a jury at Lincoln Crown Court after a two-week trial.
Speaking in court following the trial Recorder Gareth Evans QC said: The sentence is inevitable.
“It is going to be a substantial prison sentence.
“I’m prepared to grant bail but you should be under no illusions as to what the sentence will be.”
Prosecuting Felicity Gerry told the jury the offences came to light in October 2010 after the child made a complaint of being sexually abused.
Clifton’s computer was later examined and indecent photographs of the child were discovered.
Defending Timothy Spencer QC said Clifton was a man of previous good character.
Mr Spencer added that Clifton still continues to deny the offences. Clifton will be sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court at a date yet to be confirmed.
Last year Lincolnshire Police seized five million indecent images of children – more than three times the number seized in 2010.
Research shows that 85 per cent of people who commit image offences have already committed a hands-on offence with a child.
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