Febuary 1997

Tory councillor is branded a rapist

CONSERVATIVE councillor Michael Howden, jailed this week for five-and-a-half years for the rape of a teenage girl, will remain a member of Wirral Council pending any appeal.

Howden’s high profile Liverpool Crown Court case came to a dramatic end on Monday, when he was jailed for the rape and sexually molesting another 17-year-old girl.

The respectable-looking Conservative councillor for Wallasey denied the charges but was found guilty on Friday.

He appeared for sentence on Monday, wearing a suit but no tie, and looking tired. Judge Justice Kay told Howden, of Pelham Road, Wallasey: “After careful and anxious consideration, the jury convicted you of serious offences. They require substantial terms of imprisonment.

“I take into account you are someone of exemplary character, who has worked for the good of others in the community. To reflect that, I make a reduction in your sentence.”

Howden’s defence pleaded: “This is a tragic case and the consequences will be felt by many people for a very long time.”

Howden, who had worked as a youth training manager until he was made redundant last July, claimed that the alleged incidents never occurred and that the girls had colluded.

His rape victim told Liverpool Crown Court how she had awakened to find Howden kneeling at her bedside, indecently assaulting her.

He left, but returned and raped her. Her friend said Howden indecently assaulted her on about 20 occasions.

Howden’s victims sat in the public gallery for sentencing , as did his wife, who appeared to be on the verge of tears.

Council leader Dave Jackson, Labour, said he has been advised by the Borough Solicitor to make no further comment at this stage.