Polo player jailed for sex attacks on children

  • A polo player and well-known umpire has been sentenced to five years in prison for a number of sex offences against children.

    Simon McLaren, also known as Simon McLaren-Tosh, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court (RCC) on 12 June.

    McLaren is a former member of the arena rules committee of the Hurlingham Polo Association, the sport’s governing body.

    He had denied any sexual wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct during four police interviews.

    However, on 8 May he offered pleas to nine of 13 charges at RCC.

    simon_mclaren_tosh_TVPThe 50-year-old admitted three counts of sexual assault on children under the age of 13 and to making indecent images (filming) of children.

    He also pleaded guilty to one charge of making indecent images, one count of voyeurism and a charge of possession of indecent images of children.

    The charges are in relation to offences committed against three girls aged under 13 between 21 April and 20 August 2014.

    The charges of voyeurism and possession of indecent images took place between January 2010 and August 2014.

    After consultation with the victims, the pleas were accepted by the prosecution and the remaining counts left to lie on file.

    McLaren, of Bracknell Road, Warfield, and of Hemyock in Devon, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for each of the sexual assaults, to be served consecutively.

    He was also sentenced to a further year in prison for making indecent images (filming), to be served concurrently.

    As well as this, he was given an eight-month jail term for the charge of indecent images that related to images captured through hidden cameras, to be served consecutively.

    He was also given a jail sentence of four months for a charge of voyeurism that encompasses 130 videos, to be served consecutively, and four months in prison for possessing (downloading) indecent images of children, to be served concurrently.

    McLaren has been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for an indeterminate period and a sexual harm prevention order has been made against him for eight years.

    Investigating officer Det Sgt Jon Groenen praised the bravery of the victims and their families for supporting the investigation.

    Adrian Foster, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Simon McLaren-Tosh took advantage of his circumstances to prey on the young girls, sexually abuse them and film the abuse for his own sexual gratification.”

    He added: “The emotional impact on the victims and their family of the abhorrent actions of this man is impossible to quantify.

    “I hope that the conviction and today’s sentence gives some small comfort to them. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”

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