November 2010


A brutal pervert who subjected three Cumbrian schoolgirls to horrific sexual abuse was today starting a 12-year jail sentence.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that David Sandham Hodgson, 62, whose offences included raping a girl aged just 11 or 12, had previously served a four-year jail term for abusing four other girls.

The defendant gave his terrified victims cigarettes and money after making them perform sex acts.

He initially denied all the allegations against him, but eventually pleaded guilty to three sets of offences.

As well as the rape and indecent assault of the 11-year-old, he admitted two acts of gross indecency on a girl aged eight or nine; and one act of gross indecency on a girl who was aged 12.

Robert Wyn-Jones, prosecuting, said the offences came to light after one of the victims spoke to a care worker about what had happened.

The child described how he had given her money and cigarettes after making her perform sex acts. “She said she didn’t like doing it,” said the barrister. Another victim spoke to the police, saying she needed to understand why she was misbehaving and hurting other people.

“It had a profound effect on her,” said Mr Wyn-Jones. The third girl told how she was abused by the defendant while he had pornographic images playing on his TV.

Mr Wyn-Jones told the court how in 1976, Hodgson was convicted at St Albans Crown Court of sexually abusing four young girls, when he admitted six counts of indecent assault against girls in Hertfordshire.

His victims described him as a “violent man,” who began abusing them when they were just 11 or 12.

In their victim impact statements, two of the girls abused most recently by Hodgson spoke of the devastating effects on their lives. “It caused great distress,” wrote one. “I felt a lot of anger and directed it… at basically everybody.”

The trauma affected her schooling, and led to her exhibiting disruptive behaviour, said the barrister. The other girl said the abuse left her wary of men and unable to trust them.

Kim Whittlestone, for Hodgson, said in recent months the defendant was living in a remote part of Scotland and had not been in trouble since the allegations came to light.

Passing sentence, Judge Paul Batty QC told Hodgson: “These were truly revolting offences… I have read the victim impact statements in this case, which make horrific reading.”

Judge Batty said there was precious little mitigation other than the defendant’s guilty pleas. The judge also imposed an order preventing Hodgson from ever working with children or having unsupervised access to them.

When released from jail, Hodgson will have to serve an extended 10-year period on licence. He was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.