10:40am Monday 13th February 2012
A leading Test Valley businessman faces a prison sentence after being convicted of a string of sex offences committed three dec-ades ago.
Alan Chatfield, from King’s Somborne, is facing a lengthy stretch behind bars after being found guilty of nine charges, including gross indecency with a child, rape and sexual assaults.
Chatfield, 56, who was the head of Southampton’s Federation of Small Businesses until last year, was convicted after a crown court trial lasting seven days.
The historic offences date back to a sustained period of abuse during the 1960s and 70s, with the earliest committed when he was just 11 himself.
Jurors rejected his denials, and found him guilty of three counts of rape, three of gross indecency with a child, two of indecent assault on a female, and one of a serious sexual assault.
The judge directed them to acquit Chatfield of a further charge of indecent assault on a female.
He will be sentenced at the start of next month, but has already been made to sign the sex offenders’ register.
The investigation into Chatfield was led by police in Kent, where he grew up in Grantham, and his trial was held at Canterbury Crown Court.
The co-founder of CF Electronics, based near Romsey, his career has mostly been in electronics, including roles with former ITV company TVS, military communications firm Plessey, in Christchurch, Wessex Electronics and Blake Electronics in Southampton.
When Blake went into voluntary liquidation, he founded CF Electronics with another former employee, building parts for other manufacturers from its base in Lockerley.
Chatfield was re-elected as chairman of the Southampton branch of the FSB three years ago and was a key player in the Wessex-wide organisation as spokesman on transport and environmental issues.
He has also represented the Southampton federation on several partnership bodies, including Graduate Job South, Hampshire Strategic Partnership, and Hampshire West Young Enterprise, which works with children as young as four to engage them in the world of business.
Chatfield also served on task groups of several local authorities, including Eastleigh, Test Valley and Southampton, and the board of Young Enterprise in Southampton.
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