"The safety, well-being and best interests" of our members have been in our thoughts says Slimming World as members criticise lack of information about paedophile Beach

By Christopher Gage in Crime

A dangerous paedophile who ran an Abergavenny slimming club and was last week convicted of sickening sex crimes had a ‘deep, dark side’, according to one of his former class members.

Anthony Beach, 40, carried out the ‘incalculable’ abuse over eight years, whilst maintaining a facade which painted him as a popular franchisee of Abergavenny Slimming World branch.

Sickened former members have hit out at the multi-million pound weight-loss club after it refused to tell them why the popular Beach had suddenly dropped off the radar.

Kathy Jones, 59, joined the local Slimming World club in November last year. She and other members said they were left in the dark, after spending weeks pressing the club for answers on why consultant Beach had seemingly disappeared.

“He used to post daily motivational messages on Facebook, then it suddenly stopped,” said Kathy.

“This was completely out of character. Then he didn’t show up for the following Monday class, which was weird.”

Members began to worry, even speculating that Beach was taken with a serious illness.

“He was a good guy. A conscientious consultant, and so committed. He really cared about his job, so for him to just disappear, I thought something was not right.

“A lot of people started asking the same questions. After two weeks of pressing them, Slimming World came out and said he was ‘having personal problems’. They tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. We were all left in the dark.”

Kathy, along with many of other members, began to see the true picture reveal itself when Facebook posts containing alleations about Beach began to appear.

“It all started to emerge after I saw his Facebook page had been taken down. And others from the group started posting messages regarding the news. Most said it just couldn’t be true.

“I pressed Slimming World. I told them that they owed it to their members. They were not forthcoming. They completely ignored all of this. They just don’t want to tarnish their own reputation.”

Kathy and the other members said they felt ‘let down’ by Slimming World’s reluctance to tell them what was going on. Some are angry that they found out the sickening news of a man they liked and trusted, via explicit news reports.

“If they had come out at the start and said ‘he will no longer be working with us’ then nobody would have minded,” she said.

“A lot of people feel let down that they were not told until the newspapers broke the news.

“He never displayed any signs of being anything like that. I suppose you wouldn’t. He was charming. He had a deep, dark side. We were all duped.”

After news broke of Beach’s crimes last week, sickened locals and members of the branch voiced their disgust as the depraved crimes of the ‘nice guy’ came to light, branding him ‘sick’ and ‘depraved’.

Details of Beach’s dark side only emerged when sickening abuse images – taken by Beach himself – were found on his computer by a former friend who had offered to repair the machine.

The shocking material uncovered a history of sexual abuse his victim estimates occurred on over 100 occasions, during which Beach tried to bribe his victim with ‘significant’ amounts of cash.

Judge Neil Bidder told Cardiff Crown Court that Beach’s heinous crimes amounted to a ‘dreadful history of abuse’ wreaking ‘incalculable’ damage on his victim.

Beach pleaded guilty to 29 charges, including one of rape and 19 of sexual activity with a child.

Twelve of the latter happened when the child was under 13, and seven when he was older.

A further three charges related to Beach’s possession of indecent images of a child, some of which fell into the worst category.

The court heard that Beach harboured ‘very strong paedophilic tendencies’ towards young boys, and was considered incapable of controlling those urges. presenting ‘significant risk’ of causing ‘serious harm’.

Beach was sentenced to a total of 13 years and eight months in jail, and is subject to an extended licence period of two years and four months. He must serve more than nine years before he can be considered for release.

He is also the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and the sex offenders’ register, both indefinitely.

A Slimming World spokesperson said, ““We’re so sorry if any Slimming World members in Abergavenny feel that we should have informed them of the details of this case earlier. We’d like to reassure them that protecting our members and providing a safe environment is always our highest priority, which is why we implemented our safeguarding policy and immediately stopped Mr Beach from running any groups, as soon as we became aware of the accusations against him.

“We spoke to the police at the time and at no point was there any indication that any of the allegations against Mr Beach involved any members and, while they did not confirm details of the allegations, they did confirm that no members were at risk. As Mr Beach hadn’t actually been found guilty of any crime at that time, for legal reasons we were unable to say why we had removed him from his role as a consultant until after his conviction.

“Our hearts go out to the people involved in this case and we hope our members will understand that their safety, wellbeing and best interests have been in our thoughts throughout this difficult time.”

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