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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February 2005, 16:35 GMT
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Your comments on the Crime Wave programme.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published will be reflective of the balance of opinion received.

"Crime wave" is the correct term and if Goad's allegations of the maltreatment he received as a child are true, then that was where the "crime wave" started.

I do not seek to excuse Goad's actions but his story of what happened to him as a ten year old evoked pity and sadness within me. No matter what he has done now, Goad deserves some sympathy for what he apparently endured as a child. Goad deserves to be in prison but it is clear that there are others who should be there as well.

None of this makes it easier for Goad's victims, but the reality that these types of cases are too complex just to dismiss Goad as evil and say "throw away" the key. How does society now ensure that those victimised by Goad do not continue the cycle and themselves become categorised as 'evil' in 20 years time? It may satisfy society's desire for vengeance to lock Goad away for all time, but it does nothing to address the problem of victim becoming the perpetrator.
Ben Thomas, Wellington New Zealand

These poor men seemed to have been failed by so many people. Why did these men, as boys, have to go through this because of the incompetence of people who should have acted? As a therapist I know that with the right help and support they can move on. They need to be told that none of what happened was their fault. I wish them all the very best for the future.
Mo Dutka, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire

How anyone can make a statement that burglary is more important than child abuse is sorely mistaken. Admittedly burglary is not nice, but can anyone put this on a par with the mental cruelty, not to mention physical, that young persons are subjected to at an early age? The system is failing our young people, such a shame.
Dee Hamilton-Patterson, Stockport, England

It is disgusting the lenient sentences handed to paedophiles in our country . The damage they inflict is ongoing for years, sometimes for a lifetime. They are released to live their lives and abuse again and again. Castration is not the answer because it is not just the sex act that is critical; the mental abuse is too. When are we as country and a government going to treat these crimes as the serious problem they are? Bank robbers get ten years and most paedophiles get three to 4 years. Justice? I think not!
Cath O'Leary, Manchester

Every institution failed the children, when they were most vulnerable. The government should support them now, morally, legally and financially. Give these abused adults the chance they deserve.
Vivienne Williams, Reading, England

A very sad programme tonight, I thought, proving if proof were needed that children especially who are the victims of abuse are seriously affected in adult life. I am very sad that the authorities failed to spot that these children were being abused and although they suspected Bill Goad was abusing children the police were not notified. Children have to be protected and what I find alarming is that there probably are children being abused unknowingly by those who should be protecting them. A very touching programme I thought showing all too clearly what affect this very serious crime has on the victims many years after the abuse took place.
Steve Fuller, Hove, East Sussex, England

Tonight's programme is shocking. It has made me wonder if, in certain circumstances like this, a person can held to be not responsible for their actions. However, then you have to think about the victim's victim. Very complicated indeed. It makes you wonder about some aspects of humanity. From my point of view, it makes me very sad!
Andy Mitchell, Taunton, Somerset

If the country wants to reduce crime, surely it should address its root causes? I always confidently believed that people had the freedom of choice whether or not to commit a crime. But the evidence on the Panorama programme was overwhelming. None of these men committed their crimes before they were abused. Do they not deserve some redress for the terrible crimes committed against them?
Ethan Greenwood, Cricklewood, England

Just highlighted that the money paid to the police by us through the tax system is wasted by them chasing targets set by the government. If the police put as much effort into catching the real criminals, such as those shown on the programme, as they do the motorist, this country would be a safer place to live.
Bill, Great Dunmow

Having watched your Panorama programme this evening, about a local paedophile with a 40-year record that I fully agree with the main point you were making. Plymouth is a thriving tourist city, yet it has NEVER had sufficient funds from the government nor council in order to have a sufficient police force and additional public services. The mess-ups you showed in the programme as far as social services, police investigation and any other parties involved, is still a big problem down here to this day. Judge Taylor is renowned for his justice and excellence, our judges do an excellent job, but the main problem is still the same - that of getting the criminals to court in the first place.
Miss Karen Badcock, Plymouth, Devon

What i found intriguing and definitely agreed with was the fact of where government money is channelled and i believe the government should re-think about where their money would be more beneficial, not only for the children but for society itself.
Vicky, Liverpool England

I have just watched your programme on the abused men in Plymouth and my heart went out to them. While it will never ever make them feel better, Goad should rot in prison.
Maureen Armstead, Hartlepool, Teesside

I feel ashamed to say that I live in a world where people are allowed to abuse and destroy the lives of so many children and get away with it. i would like to know why it is that the government doesn't provide more money for the protection of children, because what more important job do any of us have in life? I would rather have my house burgled than have a child abused (who wouldn't?). So I ask the government to spend the tax money with greater thought for protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
Carrieanne Meggison, Oldham, Lancashire

I cannot believe that after all that these men have been through that they are not entitled to compensation. If people had been doing their jobs properly then their lives could have been saved. I have no doubt that their behaviour resulted from what was done to them How they have coped and will cope in the future with the way they have been treated by social services and the police is beyond comprehension. These men deserve the chance to build a life for themselves, money will never erase what has happened but might provide a little bit of hope, which they so rightly deserve. I have never been so affected by a television programme, I really hope these men and the countless others that were abused find peace.
Carla Davidson, Inverness

As a serving police officer and parent I was disgusted and appalled at what I viewed on tonight's programme. The impression given to me by Devon and Cornwall Police was that of ineptitude, laziness, and a failure of a duty of care to the public. There is absolutely no excuse for not conducting the arrests of the outstanding suspects, and continuing to allow them their liberty is further jeopardising young lives.
name withheld, London, United Kingdom

We really have to get our act together and protect our children. All the agencies seem to be falling over themselves all the time. If the police prioritised sex offenders there would possibly less related crime anyway, as Panorama suggested. My heart broke to see those poor young men abused so. The law should be changed to clear up the mess these perverted people have created. The victims seem to be continually let down by the legal system, police and social services. If I could personally do something to ease their pain and make sure that all the other offenders are put away I would. I think Panorama has just caught the tip of the iceberg.
Mrs M Perkins, Spalding, Lincolnshire, England

We were sickened to see that police and social workers did not seem to care enough about these young boys. Bring back capital punishment for rape, murder and paedophiles.
Carol and Malcolm Bestwick, Rossendale, England

I'm 37 and was abused as a young boy from the age of about 13 to 14 or 15. The man who abused me got sentenced to 12 years in prison last year for a number of offences, I went on to get a criminal record like your lads in your programme after I was abused. There are so many issues here that just don't get looked into. It was a start to hear a judge saying what he said was the reason for offenders going before him, but there is so much more that needs to be done. I've managed to sort of put it all behind me I have a loving family now but I still have a bad temper that I manage to control. I will never get away from what happened to me, I just do my best to forget it as much as I can. I would love to know what percentage of abused children do end up with criminal records; a study worth looking into but is probably too complex to try. Good programme, hate the reminder though.
Alan T

There clearly needs to be more government money put into mental health services and rehab with trained professional such as community psychiatric nurses, with skills and knowledge to work along side theses poor men to acknowledge what they have been through and to try and help them to live their lives without a life of crime and drugs.
Miss Pauline Gill, Derby, UK

It appears that Ben from NZ is implying that those that have suffered sexual abuse go on to abuse. This is totally wrong: Some do undoubtedly go on to abuse, the majority, I repeat, the majority do not.
Kirk Mcintyre, Shropshire

I was struck by the courage and honesty of the victims and how starkly this contrasts with the lack of similar virtues in the institutions that are supposed to protect the people of this country from such depraved, hurtful and calculated behaviour. I'm deeply upset by the lack of effectiveness in both the police force and the child protection agency and hold the government entirely responsible. I can't imagine that any officers working in these organisations are not doing there absolute best and imagine they feel similar disbelief that there is not more time or money to prosecute the alleged associates of Goad. It's obvious to me that somewhere in government there's a failure to understand the real fears of parents and we must put paedophilia and all other sexual abuse crimes up the priority list. It seems clear to me that there aren't the appropriate open and non-stigma communication mechanisms in these organisations to allow the officers to effectively influence the priorities and agenda. It's verging on negligence that 'linked' crimes with positive evidence aren't acted on in parallel or consecutively. If more money is needed, spend less on the "nice to have's" that make 'us' feel good about our position in the world and more on protecting our children.
Craig Raeside, Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK

I was heartened to see such a humane and intelligent judge who could thread together the clear cause and effect that was parading before him. As a drug and alcohol counsellor I would say as high as 40% of clients presenting with problems with drugs and or alcohol have been sexually abused. Services are not dealing with the issue properly, mental health trusts do not have the correct funding or approaches to treatment to ensure people are supported in a way that may enable some ability to grieve and begin a process of healing.
Kate Hayes, Norwich England

Surely this programme spells out the need for a radical change in the sentencing of all serious sex offenders to ensure they are not released into the community until the authorities are very sure they are no longer a threat? There is at present a total inconsistency in sentencing despite guidelines given to judges. I speak as an adult victim of rape. I was "lucky" that the offender in my case was sentenced to life with an 8 year tariff - a far greater sentence than most are given. Only a small percentage are given life and therefore the community is not protected. This was as a result of one rape - not repeated rapes on many victims. As an adult I know the damage and pain rape can cause and find it hard to believe that the court system is so totally unfair. I think it is difficult to consider this a civilised country when we sweep child abuse under the carpet. This is even worse than adult rape because of the damage done to a developing mind and MUST BE STOPPED by a zero tolerance policy. We also need to use the word rape and not abuse as the word abuse can lead people to think the offences are not serious
Anonymous, England

Why is compensation not being paid to those who have suffered horrific abuse as very young children and to compound their abuse, have been let down by those they would expect to protect them including the social services and police? Can nothing to be done to change this? How they act subsequently should have no bearing on the compensation they deserve.
Corinne Moore, Kneesall, England

We need to crack down on these monsters, via proper life sentences, not the 25 year "life" that is given at present. Currently, we, as a justice system, are sending the message that actually the crimes being committed are not really that bad. It is time for zero tolerance.
Fiona , Perth, Scotland

I feel a great need to say that not all children who have been abused turn to crime or drugs. I did not. No one took my life away from me because I would not allow them to. I had a choice become a victim or a survivor. I chose the later. Just as there are victims out there committing crimes there are also hundreds of people like myself who have succeeded in life despite being abused sexually as a child.
Jackie, England

Today's police force are simply tax men with big hats. A motorist, or someone who has forgotten to keep hold of their bus ticket, is an easy target and less "effort" than a real monster who may be living in a far off, isolated place like Brittany. Speaking as a non-motorist whose family has been affected by the things outlined in tonight's show I would like to thank the BBC and whoever thought to put this show out. It has made me wonder what certain people are up to right now and what to do about it. Who would listen anyway?
Gordon, Birmingham, England

These people were sadly let down by all of the so called responsible adults around them. It is clear that crimes involving money will take precedence over human life. They carry heavier prison sentences are dealt with promptly. These people were sacrificed by social services who failed in their duty of care by not reporting the perpetrator to the police. "Silence is complicity" failing to report and protect is choosing to support the perpetrator. The police who failed to respond to the knowledge given to them are also guilty for the same reasons. The message they all give to society is don't bother to tell us because we will not respond it is too expensive and you are not worth it. The message to the offenders is go ahead we will probably not bother to pursue you we don't have the finances or the staff.
Sarah O'Donnell, Coventry, West Mids.

From the arrest in 2003, I worked closely with the courageous men who were prepared to recount their harrowing experiences at the hands of this arrogant paedophile, the details of which as a mother, a human being and lastly a Police Officer, I will never forget. Myself and some other dedicated officers will remain totally committed to bringing these abusers to justice and will continue to battle against policies and inadequate resources which allow others to continue this degeneration of society and our children. I have personally been astounded at the amount of people, both from the public and organisations who were aware of what was happening through those decades but did nothing. The survivors, both those who spoke out and those who couldn't, have been consistently let down by a society who simply does not want to know.

Ray is totally right in saying that no line should ever be drawn where child abuse is concerned. I have echoed that statement more times than I can remember. Goad's attempt to paint himself as the victim is far from the impression he gave of himself when it would not have earned him any reward. He tried to remain "in control" of his victims right until he no longer had any choice due to the overwhelming evidence and the strength of those he had ruthlessly tried to destroy. The idea of "victim to perpetrator" is largely a myth which serves to reward the likes of him. The vast majority of victims would rather die than hurt a child. In fact, these brave men have stood up primarily to protect other children from having to endure such horror. Ordinary police officers can often be disempowered by organisations however I firmly believe and will continue to stress that nothing can ever justify ignoring child abuse.

It is and has been proved to be the root cause of the type of crime most voters want dealt with. Child abuse does not win votes! Thank you to the Panorama team for showing the reality.
Detective Constable Shirley Thompson, Plymouth England

I feel that on the whole most people are unaware of the number of children who are abused. It is only when these high profile cases are brought to public attention that people are shocked. Working as a drug and alcohol counsellor i am staggered by the number of adults who disclose to me that they have been abused as children (in all cases they receive counselling and support and are advised of their rights to press charges). Many of these were labelled as out of control shortly after the abuse, many being placed in care, yet no one appeared to consider why their behaviour had changed so suddenly. In most of these cases the perpetrator was not some unknown figure but known to the family. Shirley Thompson says the idea of victim to persecutor is largely a myth, however I have yet to meet a perpetrator who was not themselves a victim. The cycle will continue until the resources that are needed are put in place.
Rozalyne, Bolton, England

I stood in Plymouth crown court and watched William Alexander Goad in the dock as they read out the details of his hideous crimes against each victim, I watched as he let out a theatrical sigh each time the prosecution mentioned any violence used or threatened by him as if this was untrue or exaggerated in some way. In truth what the prosecution mentioned was only a fraction of the horrors that his victims had suffered and are still suffering.

I know because I had spent the previous year and a half listening to them and recording their version of events, I watched as they were physically sick, lost their temper, punched walls, walked out in tears unable to continue as they tried to recall events that most of them had spent years trying to bury deep somewhere at the back of their mind. I watched as some of them cried in front me a complete stranger, and yes sometimes it made me cry just listening to the horrific details of the abuse.

In Goad's letter to Panorama he tries to paint himself as some sort of ten-year-old victim. I note by your emails that some viewers actually believe that this. When Goad spoke to Shirley and I he was quite positive that he was "involved in sex with other boys" from day one at Ford Park school, he said this was consensual sex that he was invited to join in with and did of his own free will (his words). He was actually 14 years old. Goad also said, in his opinion " he was never a victim he just took part in the sex", funny how he now tries to claim the status of victim when it suits his needs.

Mention was made of Goad's charitable work and how he had been an esteemed member of the community, as with everything Goad ever did in his life these actions were designed to get him closer to vulnerable young boys and put him in a position of power over them, these comments must have been a slap in the face to the victims who had to endure set back after set back as his court dates were put back again and again as Goad and his defence tried to put up hurdles every step of the way during the court process, and yet he was still given consideration for his "early" guilty plea.

At no time throughout our investigation has Goad shown any remorse towards the victims only contempt and anger that he has been caught and punished. I would say to anyone who feels sorry for Mr Goad save your feeling for his victims, their families and the many lives that have been destroyed by this calculating manipulative predator who will remain danger to young boys as long as he is alive.
Detective Constable John Livingstone, Plymouth, Devon

Crime wave
04 Feb 05 |  Panorama
A one-man crime wave?
04 Feb 05 |  Panorama


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