Why The Doug Richard Allegations show That know-how is poisonous For Relationships

To everyone who knew him in Cambridge, Doug Richard used to be a household man – but the internet made it too straightforward for him to behave on his reckless feel of entitlement
 

Doug Richard arrives on the previous Bailey to face child sex costs. photo: 2016 Getty pictures

Did I really suppose Doug Richard used to be a nice man? I asked myself that question again and again when the entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den panellist was on trial for child-sex offences on the old Bailey. The circle of individuals in Cambridge who knew Doug and his spouse had been shocked when he used to be arrested in January closing 12 months.

We tried to think of an innocent rationalization as to why the 57-year-outdated had been accused of getting sex with a thirteen-12 months-old girl. now not many sprang to thoughts.

still, it’s rather hard to consider the worst of someone you’ve loved barbecues with, somebody who is father to three great youngsters and husband to a friendly, artful girl you’ve talked books and lifestyles with at the kitchen desk.

Doug Richard, who is married with three children, has vehemently denied the allegationsDoug Richard, who has three children, has vehemently denied the allegations.  photograph: Steve Stills

Doug used to be all the time filled with himself in that brash American manner, driven as hell, but vivid and a laugh with it. He spoke to girls like he’d learnt attraction out of a “tips on how to change into super fashionable” book. “hey, gorgeous,” was his reflex greeting. it will be easy to assert that i discovered him creepy, but that will be hindsight speaking. He used to be a lech, but in the sort of gauche approach that it used to be funny reasonably than threatening.

Some folks idea Doug Richard was once all front and wondered how he made his thousands and thousands, but his brief length on tv lent him a undeniable cachet. A wealthy man will likely be forgiven many things in a small town, even gale-power halitosis.

And the Richards had been busy social climbers. We went to a dinner at their home, in the autumn of 2014, to have fun Doug becoming a British citizen. best afterwards did any person jokingly mention that our host needed to be a Brit to ensure he would gather any future gongs at the Palace for his work as a govt trade adviser.

Budget 2011: Marshall plan needed to inspire Britain's entrepreneurs to boost growth, says Doug Richard.The Richard household had been busy social climbers.

Following Doug’s arrest, we realized that police had grew to become up very early one morning. It appeared a total over-response, but the family couldn’t discuss it. I sent our sympathy to his spouse and children, but one thing informed me not to ship it to Doug.

and then it all got here out, when the trial began on 25th January. so much extra repellent than the rest we’d imagined.

“The thirteen-year-old he mistook for 17 was once five foot tall and weighed most effective six stone. A baby sparrow, now not a sugar child.”

Doug had been using a “sugar daddy” website online for 4 years to are searching for out sexual roleplay with a whole lot of younger girls. He had been revealed when two “sugar babies” travelled from Norwich to meet him in London. the girls were aged thirteen and 15, but claimed to be older. Doug’s barrister made so much of that, and of the truth that the website, in quest of arrangements, was once for customers over 18.

The pricey legal professional painted a titillating, Fifty hues of grey situation – somewhat leisure spanking between consenting adults adopted with the aid of some spending cash for the ladies to go on a spree (no deciding to buy intercourse or anything sordid like that!). The jury on the outdated Bailey well-known it and located Doug Richard no longer responsible.

Doug Richard,former Dragons Den panellist and one-time advisor to David Cameron, arrives at the Old Bailey, January 27, 2016Doug Richard arrives at the previous Bailey on Wednesday  picture: Rex

The jury back in Cambridge (and on social media), meanwhile, was boiling with disbelief. moms whose daughters had been on holiday with the Richard family felt sick. (“was he ogling her in her bikini?”) All I could take into consideration was once Doug’s own kids, just a few years older than the baby he had sex with. How *could* he? The 13-yr-outdated he mistook for 17 was five foot tall and weighed only six stone. A baby sparrow, not a sugar child.

As a father, Doug has noticed in the beginning hand the vulnerability of sweet sixteen ladies. Would he in point of fact need some heart-aged creep like him approaching his daughters online? of course no longer. the variation is that these had been bad, unsophisticated creatures – the younger one didn’t even get to provide evidence – and may be handled as a rich man’s plaything.

“no matter darkish pathology drove Doug Richard to wreck his lifestyles, the actual fact is still that his a hit defence of “affordable belief” highlights an appalling loophole within the legislation.”

What drove that repugnant come upon was once a reckless sense of entitlement: the alpha male taking what he felt was rightly his.

I had noticed that trait once ahead of in Doug. We have been collaborating in a literary quiz in a church corridor. Our desk was once neck and neck with another workforce when Doug disappeared to the john and got here back with the three answers we had been lacking. I keep in mind that having a look at him and thinking: “just right God, how much must you want to win that you’d hassle to head and Google in the bathroom?” The stakes were ridiculously low, but Doug needed to return out on top.

The defence of ‘cheap belief’ highlights an appalling loophole within the legislation.  picture: Steve Stills

The internet makes dishonest as easy as giving candy to a sugar child. the head of Relate warned this week that digital know-how – sexting, cybersex – is having a big impact on relationships.

web sites equivalent to in search of preparations and Ashley Madison now not best allow a married man like Doug to scratch an itch, they may even create an itch he would by no means have had before descending into the dripping caves of on-line porn. cyberspace is the united states without conscience; males lose their souls there.

no matter darkish pathology drove Doug Richard to break his existence, the very fact remains that his a success defence of “reasonable belief” highlights an appalling loophole within the law.

“Let mitigating elements practice to a sixteen-year-old boy who has sozzled intercourse with a fourteen-year-old schoolmate. but a 57-year-previous-man who has sex in error with a thirteen-yr-old child?”

As Gavin Shuker MP, chair of the All party staff on Prostitution and the global sex exchange, wrote: “It’s illegal to pay for sex with any person underneath the age of 18. however these sold between the a long time of thirteen and 17 inhabit a different more or less legal limbo; safe in statute but not via the state – because the defence of affordable perception exists. In observe, this defence is nearly all the time enough to avoid cost or conviction.”

on account of the horrifying scale of child “prostitution” (more appropriately, child “abuse”), Shuker’s committee has really helpful getting rid of the defence of cheap belief below the age of sixteen. relatively right.

“Oh, i assumed she was 18” just isn’t good enough. Let mitigating elements practice to a sixteen-yr-previous boy who has sozzled sex with a fourteen-12 months-previous schoolmate. but a fifty seven-12 months-outdated-man who has sex in error with a thirteen-12 months-outdated youngster? Uch.

Doug Richard would possibly not have committed a criminal offense however, heaven knows, he committed a sin.

 

To everybody who knew him in Cambridge, Doug Richard used to be a family man – but the web made it too simple for him to behave on his reckless feel of entitlement

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