Child abuser Neil Townsend behind bars after victim confronts him

Hampshire company director who sexually abused seven girls is behind bars after he was confronted by one of his devastated victims ten years after his crimes. Shamed Neil Townsend only handed himself into police when he feared his sordid secret would be revealed. The 63-year-old confessed he crept into children’s bedrooms to touch them while they slept. He even gave police the names of his seven victims – one who later tried to kill herself after she struggled to cope with the abuse. One of the girls – aged 13 – had been asleep when he indecently assaulted her and only found out she had been abused when police came to take her statement. Sheffield-born Townsend was the boss of Hythe -based team building and life coaching business Next Step. An active member of Waterside Tennis club he was the singer in Hythe band 2 Generations and 2nd Generation in the 90s, Southampton Crown Court was packed with his victims and their families to hear a judge jail ownsend for five years. The court heard Townsend had a predatory sexual interest in children. The victims wept as they relived their suffering and the effect it has had on their lives. Prosecutor Siobhan Linsley said one girl began self-harming, took an overdose and even tried to hang herself. Another who suffered repeated abuse over what the judge described a “significant period of time” developed post traumatic stress disorder and a condition where she pulled out her eyelashes and eyebrows from the stress. In a statement read to the court she said: “I lost a piece of me every time it happened.” In one of the counts he lured a girl onto his lap to write her Christmas list and indecently assaulted her. In another, he touched a 19-year-old’s thigh under the covers but he fled when she awoke and confronted him.In mitigation Rebecca Vanstone said Townsend felt “deep set remorse and regret for what he has done”. Townsend, of Onslow Road, Southampton, pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault and two further counts at a previous hearing. Judge Gary Burrell told him: “he fact is you do have a sexual interest in children and it was a predatory interest. You took advantage of these children to satisfy your own sexual appetite.” The judge added that the case was aggravated by the number of victims, his repeated abuse and the effect he has had on his victims’ lives. He added: “They now have to live with that for the rest of their lives.” If you have been subject to abuse then please contact us in the strictest of confidence Charles Derham crd@verisona.com 02392492472


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."

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