Hertford porter jailed for sexual assault

Barry Walton, a 61-year-old kitchen porter at Hertford College, has been sentenced to four years in prison for sexually assaulting two schoolgirls. The girls expressed their desire for Walton to acknowledge the severity and gravity of his actions.

Walton’s attacks took place in the woods. In one instance, he used a “thorny stick” to sexually assault one girl. He also attempted to bribe her with sweets and money.

Subsequently, he sexually assaulted the younger victim in Spindleberry Park, Blackbird Leys, instructing her to sit on him.

During the trial at Oxford Crown Court, prosecutor Gabrielle McAvock read out a victim impact statement from the older girl that stated: “Because of what he did, we never got a normal childhood.”

The younger victim also spoke out, expressing her disappointment that Walton had never apologized for his actions. She asserted: “If I did something wrong, I would acknowledge it.”

In April 2023, Walton was found guilty of multiple counts of sexually assaulting girls under the age of 13.

Despite having no previous convictions, he was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Michael Gledhill KC, who acknowledged Walton’s intellectual difficulties but emphasized that he was fully aware of the wrongfulness of his actions.

The judge remarked, “You knew perfectly well what you were doing over those years. You knew it was wrong. You couldn’t stop yourself doing it and you carried on time after time, knowing what you were doing was wrong. And the consequences have been dreadful.”

During the proceedings, Walton’s defense counsel, Paul Mason, requested the judge to consider the concerns raised in a psychological report that highlighted his client’s intellectual difficulties.

However, after reviewing the report and considering the possibility of a community order or suspended sentence, Judge Gledhill determined that such measures would be inappropriate. He noted Walton’s refusal to accept responsibility for his actions, making rehabilitation unlikely.

Judge Gledhill stated, “There is no point [in offering rehabilitative programs] because you don’t accept you’ve done anything wrong, and therefore, there is no basis for putting you on any program or giving you, in my view, a community order.”

In addition to the prison sentence, Walton was issued a seven-year sexual harm prevention order, and he will be required to remain on the sex offender register for life. 

A spokesperson from Hertford College stated that Mr Walton has not been at work since the start of his trial, and his employment was terminated following conviction.

Image description: the Bridge of Sighs, Hertford College

Image credit: Elliot Parker for OxStu