August 2006


A MAN regarded as a pillar of his Lakeland community has been jailed for nine years for a string of sex crimes against three Cumbrian schoolgirls.

Robert Dawes, of The Headlands, Glenridding, Ullswater, was sentenced for a total of 13 offences, including one of attempted rape, at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday.

Dawes, 63, is well known in his community for his charity work and his involvement with mountain rescue.

Sentencing, Judge John Phillips said: “You have helped greatly in the local community. Some might say that all this indicates that you are a pillar of the community.

“Others might say that it actually reveals your hypocrisy.”

Dawes admitted five indecent assaults on one of the girls before his trial, but was found guilty of eight further charges by a jury.

He was found not guilty of a further seven charges, including the rape of one of the girls.

The offences happened in the period between the summer of 1980 and January 1984, and he has not offended since.

Marion Mullen, defending Dawes, said: “We are talking over 20 years that this man has lived a positive community life.

“This man has lost very late in life his very good character. He knows that he has behaved extremely badly.”

She also said that Dawes had been going through a difficult time when the offences happened and that witnesses throughout his trial confirmed his behaviour had been out of character.

Dawes was banned from working with children or from having any unsupervised access with anyone under 18. He was also placed on the sex offenders register for life and will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least half his sentence.

Judge Phillips said he had considered Dawes’s guilty pleas and the fact that the attempted rape was not violent when sentencing.