February 2010

Dent man jailed for three years for abusing boy, 12

A FORMER training officer with the St John Ambulance in Cumbria has been jailed for three years for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy he took on camping trips to the Lake District.

William James, 58, who used to live with his wife in Glebe Fold, Dent, near Sedbergh, used his position as the boy’s first aid teacher to get him to agree to accompany him on two expeditions, prosecuting counsel David Birrell told Carlisle Crown Court.

On the first expedition the boy woke up in the night to find James abusing him – even though two other children were in the tent with them, he said.

And on the second, James assaulted him twice more when they were the only ones there.

James pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual assault.

As a result of them, Mr Birrell, said, the boy – who is now grown up – had been so ‘incredibly traumatised’ he tried to kill himself three times.

“Even after several years he still suffers panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia and the fear of being alone,” he said.

The court heard that by the time the boy reported the incidents to police last year James was already serving eight years in prison for abusing two other children. That sentence came in 2004 after he was found guilty of raping an 11-year-old boy and indecently assaulting him twice, and indecently assaulting a girl of 14.

Defence counsel Rod Halligan told the judge there was not much he could say on James’s behalf apart from the fact that he had pleaded guilty.

“He has accepted full responsibility and is sorry for what he has done and the harm it will have caused,” he said.

Judge Paul Batty QC called it a ‘dreadful case’ and told James: “The boy was in your charge and should have been able to look to you for help – but you targeted him for your own sexual gratification and to satisfy your own perverted desires.”

James was banned from working with children or from having unsupervised contact with anyone under 16. He was also banned from sleeping in the same house as any child and from undertaking any activity which involves children.

He had already been put on the sex offenders’ register for life for convictions in 2004.