November 2000

‘EVIL’ REIGN OF ABUSE TERROR; Jailed for 70s offences

A RETIRED coach driver from Rugby who raped a young girl and sexually preyed on children has been jailed for five years for offences he committed more than 20 years ago. 

The victims of father-of-three John Hartley were too afraid to come forward, or thought that their complaints would not be believed by adults, Coventry Crown Court was told. 

Sixty-one-year-old Hartley, of Rugby, admitted rape, indecency with a child, and five offences of indecent assault

Passing sentence yesterday Judge Marten Coates described his offences as “evil” and a “gross breach of trust”. 

But the judge accepted that, by his guilty pleas, his victims were spared from having to give evidence in court. 

Hartley must now also sign the Sex Offender’s Register for life. 

John Brotherton, prosecuting, said the sex abuse offences were committed between 1969 and 1974 and involved five young girls. 

Several were forced to perform an indecent act. 

One of them was playing a game of hide and seek at Hartley’s home. 

But the most serious offence occurred when he raped a young girl, between 1975 and 1978, said Mr Brotherton. 

The victim, now an adult, said she did not come forward at the time because she feared she would not be believed by adults. 

Police were making inquiries into other allegations against Hartley when the indecency complaints came to light. 

Hartley at first denied it, but later accepted that his victims were telling the truth. He had admitted he “had problems”, said Mr Brotherton. 

David Mason, in mitigation, said his client was remorseful and the last thing he wanted was for his victims to have to relive their ordeals.