Paedophile councillor snared after contacting victim on Facebook 25 years after molesting her
A Lincolnshire parish councillor who was arrested after making Facebook contact with a woman he abused as a child three decades ago was jailed for two years at a London court today.
Engineer David Anthony Swinton, 71, of 1 Bath Road, Bracebridge Heath denied sneaking into the girl’s room during the night when she was aged about eleven and touching her between her legs.
He was convicted of two charges of indecently abusing the victim but was cleared on the direction of the judge half way through the trial of six other similar charges.
Recorder William Featherby QC said at Harrow Crown Court as he jailed Swinton : “You have been convicted of two counts of indecent assault.
“You went to the girl’s room, stood by her bed, where she was in the top bunk and reached under her night dress, not more than a hand full of times.
“Now in her late 30s she has suffered considerable distress but she was already an unhappy child.
“These are serious offences, including a breach of trust, by exploiting your dominant position, with a helpless victim, exploiting her silence. She suffered in silence.”
In addition to the jail sentence the judge also imposed a five year Sexual Harm Prevent Order on Swinton and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.
Toby Fitzgerald, prosecuting, said today : “It was an abuse of trust.
“He was putting himself forward as some-one of impeccable character.”
Jack Talbot, counsel for Swinton told the court : “There are concerns about his ability to cope with a custodial environment.
“He is devastated by the verdict – it’s the most devastating moment of his life. He is in a traumatic state.”
Earlier the court had been told that the victim was reluctant to report Swinton, who lived in Harrow at the time, because his family was so well-respected locally, with his civil servant wife Jane sitting on the local council, and his mother-in-law a former mayor of the borough.
However, she finally went to police after father-of-three Swinton, sent her a Facebook message out of the blue in June 2013, asking how she was.
The court was told that when she looked at his Facebook page and the photographs of his grandchildren she was angry and upset that she had been contacted and reported Swinton to the police.
The prosecutor suggested to the court that the reason Swinton contacted her was because of fears, in the atmosphere of prosecutions over historic sex offences, of being prosecuted for his previous conduct.
Mr Fitzgerald said Swinton had hoped head off any complaint against him by presenting himself as a friendly face from the past.
However, he said Swinton had “miscalculated” and that his contacting her had “rekindled her upset and distress and she contacted the police.”
Swinton who sits on the Bracebridge Heath parish council and is the vice-chairman of Planning, Lighting and Roads and Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee had denied that any of the conduct he was accused of had taken place.