October 2014

Past catches up with Bristol man who stole childhood of young boy

WHEN David Woodruff was jailed for 15 years in 2012 by Judge Mark Horton, for sexually abusing a youngster, he had a dark secret. Unbeknown to the court he targeted another lad in a similar way in the 1970s.

Now, aged 70, the pensioner appeared before the same judge and received an eight-year prison sentence – to follow after his 15 years – which could see him die in custody.

Woodruff, of no fixed address but formerly of Severn Beach, pleaded guilty to two serious sexual assaults, gross indecency with a child and indecent assault.

Judge Horton told Woodruff: “You stole his childhood. You blighted his later life, emotionally and psychologically, in the most serious way.”

His latest known victim told the Post: “The sentence was appropriate. I think there are other victims out there and I certainly hope they come forward. It just shows the police are taking notice of historical cases now.”

Stephen Mooney, prosecuting, said Woodruff was jailed in 2012 after being found guilty of luring a child to his houseboat in Bristol docks and inflicting multiple sexual assaults on him, including rape.

After Woodruff was sent to prison a second complainant emerged and told police the pensioner abused him when he was a boy, the court heard.

Mr Mooney described how Woodruff was a delivery driver for a bakery and, after befriending the boy’s mother, abused him on deliveries and at his home in Severn Beach.

Mr Mooney said: “The defendant took the boy to Plymouth, to the Grand Hotel. This was known by his parents. It was the first time he was in a hotel and he was near star struck by being treated so well.

“He was receptive to the affection being shown to him by the defendant because he was starved elsewhere.”

The court heard Woodruff abused the boy at the hotel and in his lorry.

The victim read the judge a statement in which he said: “He offered to take me out in his lorry and I jumped at the chance. He showed me kindness and friendship, which I wasn’t getting at home.

“My younger brothers were getting all the attention. My father was a drunk and I guess he (Woodruff) treated me nicely. I fell in love with him and the abuse happened. It went on for a couple of years.”

The complainant said that when contact between the two ended he filled a void with drink and drugs, was raped by another man, and was in and out of prison. He said he was violent to a first wife, but was now happily married with children.

He told the court: “It’s still on my mind. A trip to Severn Beach brought back memories. For the last three years I have had constant dreams about it. Perhaps publicity brought it to the forefront? I’ve seen a therapist, I told the police and it is the biggest relief of my life.”

Jason Taylor, defending, said: “I acknowledge the bravery (the complainant) has shown today. There’s no doubt that he has lived his life under a shadow. There have been life-long, devastating effects for him.

“Mr Woodruff has taken the courageous step of pleading guilty. He faces the prospect of dying in prison. He is 70 and not in good health.”

February 2012

Village sex offender jailed

A PENSIONER has been jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of a variety of sexual offences against young boys.

David Woodruff, of Elm Tree Road, Locking, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court after being convicted of nine separate offences last year.

The charges against the 67-year-old included one of rape, two indecent assaults and indecency on one 11-year-old boy, and rape, three indecent assaults and indecency with another boy between the ages of seven and nine.

The offences occurred in Bristol, and the catalogue of abuse went undetected until one of his victims spoke up.

Although he denied the charges, a jury at the crown court found him guilty in December. A judge them passed sentence on him on February 8.

Woodruff has also had to sign the sex offenders’ register, and has been banned from working with children for life.

Reacting to the sentencing, Detective Inspector Mike Buck said Woodruff had: “targeted vulnerable people hoping that they would never speak out.

“The bravery the victims have shown has secure the sentence and I hope it brings them comfort.

“I would like to add that we take any allegation of rape and sexual assault seriously and will fully investigate and bring offenders to justice. I would urge all victims both historical and present to come forward if they have suffered abuse and report it to us.”