Leading figure in St Albans theatre scene jailed for paedophilia
- Credit: Cambridgeshire Police
A St Albans playwright has been jailed following the rape and sexual assault of a schoolgirl over a period of five years.
Elton Townend-Jones, 51, carried out the abuse between 2015-20, with the offences only coming to light when a relative of the girl saw something suspicious and called police.
During this period he was a leading light in the St Albans theatre scene as both producer and director, with his many critically acclaimed works regularly performed at the city's Maltings Arts Theatre (MAT), where he was once employed as marketing manager.
The theatre has refused to comment on his conviction, but the award-winning St Albans production company he had worked for - at one-time associate artist at the MAT - has already withdrawn all of his plays from their repertoire.
We have been asked not to name them following social media abuse, but a spokesperson said: "We will be donating any outstanding royalties to charity and will not be touring the works most closely associated with him again.
"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the victim and their family at this time."
Townend-Jones, latterly of Church Road, Wisbech, but previously of Telford Court in St Albans, was arrested in June 2020.
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In police interview he denied the offences and claimed he didn’t know why the girl would accuse him of rape or sexual assault.
In his second interview, he answered ‘no comment’ to all questions.
Townend-Jones stood trial at Cambridge Crown Court in February where jurors found him guilty of 11 counts including three counts of rape and multiple counts of assaults on a child under the age of 13.
He was jailed for a total of 14 years and must serve two thirds of his sentence before being considered for release.
Townend-Jones was also handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to monitor any future offending and a restraining order preventing him from contacting his victim, both indefinitely.
Investigating officer DC Susan Brown said: “Townend-Jones’ horrific sexual abuse of his victim went undetected for years and I am pleased he has finally been brought to justice.
“Regardless of when it happened, we will always take reports of sexual offences, including child sex abuse, incredibly seriously.
“Protecting young people from harm is one of our top priorities and we have specially trained officers who are there to support victims and bring offenders to justice.
“The defendant’s abuse has had a huge impact on his victim and I hope she can now find some closure from this traumatic period of her life.”