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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 18:44 GMT
Ex-pop star jailed for child sex
Peter MacBeth
Peter MacBeth was bass player with The Foundations
Sixties pop star Peter MacBeth, a member of The Foundations who had a hit with Build Me Up Buttercup, has been jailed for child sex offences.

MacBeth sexually assaulted a young girl on four occasions over the course of six years and downloaded child porn from the internet, a court heard.

The 71-year-old from Trefriw near Llanrwst in the Conwy valley may die in prison because he has terminal cancer.

He was jailed for six years at Mold Crown Court by Judge John Rogers QC.

MacBeth was the founding member and bass player with the Foundations until 1970 and had a worldwide hit with Build Me Up Buttercup in 1968.

He later forged a career in publishing literature for European golfing competitions.

In his later life he worked as a bus driver but developed a tumour of the larynx in 2001.

It is fair to say that he has very little to look forward to in his life
Maria Massellis-Brookes, defending

In 2006 he received a tracheotomy which meant he lost his voice and he has been told he has between three and five years to live.

His defence team originally argued that his illness meant he could not have a fair trial.

MacBeth also claimed the sex allegations were lies and the downloaded images were for academic research.

But when it was ruled that he could stand trial MacBeth changed his pleas to guilty.

Simon Mills, prosecuting, told the court how there had been four instances of sexual assault on the girl, when she was seven and eight and later when she was 12 and 13, ending in 2005.

The court heard how he would give her alcohol, he also drank heavily and the last offence occurred in a wood while on a walk.

The girl said she would sniff petrol to escape from what he had done, the court was told.

After his arrest in June 2006, MacBeth told officers they would find images on his computer.

He was writing about a young boy being sexually abused, and said he did not feel he could write with conviction without seeing what it was all about, the court heard.


Around 500 images were found and Maria Massellis-Brookes, defending, told the court her client could not really explain or understand why he had downloaded the images.

She asked the court to show mercy on MacBeth because of his age and precarious health.

"It is fair to say that he has very little to look forward to in his life," she said.

"His illness will be the death of him," she said, adding there was a danger he would die in custody.

She asked Judge Rogers to extend him some mercy although MacBeth accepted he had to be punished for what were serious offences.

In sentencing MacBeth to five years for the four offences of indecency and a consecutive 12 month sentence for downloading child porn, Judge Rogers said he had taken into account MacBeth's age, his previous good character and the fact he was suffering from a terminal illness.

"But that factor has very little weight compared to the damage you have done," said the judge.

MacBeth was also placed on the sex offender register for life.

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