November 2009

Former GCHQ worker jailed for child abuse

A former soldier and GCHQ worker who sexually molested two teenage girls has been jailed for four years and nine months.

Graham Packwood was told by a judge at Gloucester Crown Court he had committed ‘terrible, awful’ offences which had scarred the girls emotionally.

The 48-year-old committed the offences in the 1990s when he was working for the Cheltenham-based intelligence centre.

He pleaded guilty to six indecent assaults on one young girl and one indecent assault on another. The offences all happened in Harrogate, where he lives.

Prosecutor Kerry Barker said one of the girls was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Packwood while aged under 15. The other girl was a friend of the first victim and was assaulted by him once.

Jailing Packwood, of Stonecrop Avenue, Judge Martin Picton said “It was a terrible thing you did. It is an awful crime and you should be deeply ashamed of yourself.”

The judge said Packwood had ‘stolen the childhood’ of the girl whom he had persistently abused.

As well as the jail term, the judge made a sexual offences prevention order against Packwood barring him from working with children or being in the company of them except when another adult is present.

He also ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for life.

Mr Barker had told the court that at the time of the offences Packwood was working for GCHQ having earlier in his career been a soldier.

He worked for the Government listening hub not just at Cheltenham but on secondment to Ascension Island, Hong Kong and Cyprus.

It was in July last year the principal victim of his perverted crimes contacted police to report what he had done to her.

The consequences of Packwood’s offences had been ‘severe’ for both girls, said the prosecutor.

The girl who was assaulted just once had self harmed and made two suicide attempts and has spent periods in hospital because of her damaged mental state.

The principal victim has had to undergo counselling which is still continuing and has found it difficult to form relationships, Mr Barker said.

Defence barrister Richard Dewsbury told the court Packwood’s offending stopped in the late 1990s and there had been no complaint of any kind against him since then.

He said Packwood is not a sexual predator and does not pose any future danger.

“He is a man of positive good character,” he said.