Convicted paedophile lied to get a job working on rides at Wicksteed Park in Northamptonshire

A convicted paedophile told bosses at Northamptonshire's Wicksteed Park he had no previous convictions to twice gain a job working with children.

Thursday, 13th July 2017, 9:12 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:45 am
Kevin Marlow

Kevin Marlow, 55, of Cambridge Street, Rothwell, was jailed for breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and fraud by false representation on Tuesday (July 11).

Northampton Crown Court heard Marlow was given a community order in 2010 after being convicted of two counts of sexual assault for kissing a 12-year-old girl.

As part of his sentencing he was banned from coming into contact with children.

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But in May 2016 he got a job as a ride operator at Wicksteed Park.

There is no suggestion Marlow physically abused any children during his time working at the park.

Prosecuting, Priya Bakshi said: “The offences came to light when a fairground operator contacted police when she thought a registered sex offender was working there.

“He would operate rides aimed at children of between three and 13 years of age.

“He was required to assist getting children on and off rides and strapping them in.

“He would physically pick them up and put them in.”

Marlow twice gained seasonal work, again being successful in January 2017.

On both occasions he ticked a box on his application form saying he had no previous convictions.

But Government guidance advised that the nature of his job – he wasn’t working with children solely unsupervised – meant the park was not eligible to require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check at the time of the offences.

When Wicksteed Park asked him for documents so it could carry out a check after concerns were raised, he refused to comply.

Miss Bakshi added: “His employers researched him when it came to light that he might have convictions.

“He was suspended and they asked him [if he had any] and he said he had no convictions.

“They asked him to provide documents for a DBS but he did not.”

It has not been disclosed how many hours and how often Marlow worked on the rides, but it was estimated that he earned £5,000 while working at the park.

Marlow pleaded guilty to all three counts facing him at an earlier hearing.

Mitigating, Liam Muir said Marlow only took the job to gain employment and gained no sexual gratification from working there.

He said: “He knows he made an awful decision.

“It was not sexually motivated.

“It was purely to gain employment and to keep himself occupied.”

Marlow has been in custody since his arrest and appeared at court via videolink from HMP Woodhill.

Sentencing, His Honour Judge Fowler said: “You had physical contact with children which you have actively demonstrated you find sexually attractive.

“Fortunately for you there has been no complaints of abuse while you worked there.

“It will horrify every parent who took their child to the park while you worked there, let alone the effect it will have on the park itself.

“You deliberately deceived the park into employing you and paying you.”

Marlow was jailed for 20 months for breaching the Sexual Offences Prevention Order and 12 months for each count of fraud by false representation, to run concurrently.

He will spend 10 months in prison with the remainder on licence.

A spokesman for Wicksteed Park said that legislative changes earlier this month now mean it can request a DB check on any employee, which it was not able to do at the time.The spokesman said: “Wicksteed Park takes all safeguarding issues very seriously.

“The park’s employment application process was developed in accordance with Government and leisure park trade guidance and complies with all the relevant legislation.

“This person, who was recommended to us by the local job centre, worked in the public areas of the park and was in public view at all times.

“Government guidance advised that the nature of his job meant that the park was not eligible to require a DBS check.

“Due to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, these checks, previously known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks, could only be requested by employers when strict criteria governing the employee’s involvement with children were met.

“According to the guidance we received at the time of his employment, this employee’s job did not meet those criteria.

“However, in the light of recent legislative changes introduced on July 1 this year we are updating our policies to reflect new tighter regulations.

“These new regulations now permit the park to apply for a Basic Disclosure Certificate in relation to any employee.

“As soon as this matter came to light, this employee was suspended and the police were notified.

“He has since been dismissed from his role at the park.”