ColumnistsVogue Williams

Vogue Williams: No way I could forgive paedo if it was my family

Andrew Thirlwell
Andrew Thirlwell

I was watching Loose Wom­en last week, which featured the story of a family who had decided to forgive their paedophile husband and father.

The wife of Andrew Thirlwell felt she was able to forgive her husband, despite police finding 879 indecent pictures and videos on his computer.

A total of 163 of them were at the most serious level in law. The judge praised the family for their ability to forgive him.

"The support of your wife and your children for you should really be commended," Judge Stephen Ashurst told the ex-serviceman.

"There are others who would simply wipe their hands of a man in these circumstances."

The judge decided his sentence would be suspended for two years, and he will have to undergo a programme of rehabilitation.

Thirlwell was also given a sex­ual harm prevention order governing his internet use, and he will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years. The judge felt he would not get the help he needed if he was locked up.

This case has divided opinion. Even though Thirwell did not abuse any children, he still held on to photos of an extremely graphic nature of underage kids. That is a crime and the children in these photos had suffered to satisfy his need for child pornography.

If it was anyone in my family I wouldn't be able to forgive them; the person would be so far from who I thought I loved that I couldn't possibly see them as normal after finding out such a vile truth.

I don't even know if I agree that the Thirwell family deserve to be praised by the judge, because in my eyes that man does not deserve any forgiveness.

I'm sure his own children will have children of their own one day, and how could you trust this man around them.

I understand that they are going to try and rehabili­tate him, but how would that work? I don’t think you can take a pae­dophile and give him therapy until he isn't a paedo­phile anymore. That will always be a part of their make-up and they are forced to sign a sex register because they are a threat to society.

The number of child abuse cases has risen by 80 per cent in the last three years, so whatever way we are trying to rehabilitate these paedophiles just isn't working.

I know there are a lot of paedophiles out there who openly admit they are attracted to children but don't act on their urges. I find that thought quite frightening, because for how long can someone control their urges?

I did a piece in one of my documen­taries with the Paedophile Hunters, a husband and wife team who entrap pae­dophiles on Facebook under the guise of being a 12-year-old. Within minutes of switching on their fake Facebook accounts they had paedophiles want­ing to talk to what they thought were 12-year-old kids.

I can't understand how they can act so freely on a social media site such as Facebook, and I feel this should be moni­tored more carefully to protect children.

It's a scary world we live in and I think it's up to parents to ensure the safety of their children.