July 2013

Wood Green paedophile pensioner convicted of three rapes is denied cut in 25-year jail term at Court of Appeal

A “wicked” Wood Green paedophile jailed for a catalogue of appalling child rapes and sexual abuse carried out over three decades has failed to win a cut in his sentence.

Owen Bernard Courtney, 71, abused five vulnerable children, raping a 12-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy between the late 1950s and the 1980s.

He was jailed for 25 years last October after being convicted of three counts of rape, one each of buggery, attempted rape and indecent activity with a child, and 13 counts of indecent assault.

On Tuesday, Appeal Court judges Mr Justice Wilkie, Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice Jay rejected his bid to reduce his sentence.

Mr Justice Wilkie said the pensioner, of Trinity Road, began abusing his first victim in the 1950s when he was 18 and she was just 12, raping her three times.

He committed buggery with a young boy and assaulted him three times in the late 1960s, twice molested a girl under the age of eight, twice sexually assaulted a girl under 11 in the 1970s, and committed six sex offences against a teenage girl he tried to rape in the 1980s.

Mr Justice Wilkie said Courtney had previous convictions including a court martial for three counts of gross misconduct while serving with the armed forces in West Germany in 1964.

Courtney protested his innocence but was convicted by a jury, the sentencing judge calling him a “wicked sexual predator”.

The judges concluded that Courtney’s poor health and the fact he will serve at least two-thirds of his total sentence “were significantly taken into account by the sentencing judge” at the time, adding: “Though an extremely severe sentence, it was neither wrong in principle nor manifestly excessive and, accordingly, this appeal must be dismissed.”