Serial child abuser “pardoned” and allowed to walk free

For years, parish council bus driver António Pereira abused five little girls, aged between 3 and 10 years, as he drove them to and from school.

When he was finally arrested six years ago, the sexual predator from Torres Vedras was held in preventive custody for 10 days and then under house arrest to await judgment.

Magistrates ordered him to serve three-and-a-half years in jail, which the now 70-year-old appealed – remaining by this time at liberty on the basis of regular reporting to his local police station.

A second trial upheld his sentence, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã, whereupon Pereira appealed again – this time to Lisbon’s Court of Appeal.

Throughout the process, Pereira has been ‘free’. And this week CM revealed that appeal court judges have “pardoned” him, on the understanding that he no longer works with children, and that the threat of jail has been enough to put him off child abuse forever.

“António Pereira can serve his sentence at liberty”, explains the paper – stressing that Pereira’s age and absence of a criminal record was taken into account.

The court also heard that Pereira has sought special medical help in the area of mental health.

The former bus driver was found guilty on 11 counts of child abuse in a week when in the UK a serial abuser aged 101 was found guilty of 20 historic sex crimes and jailed for a total of 13 years.

Passing sentence in Birmingham, Judge Bond said the passage of time did not mean abusers would escape justice.

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