September 2015

Former Stirling SSPCA inspector jailed for sexually assaulting two young boys

Gordon Stanforth

A former Stirling SSPCA inspector has been jailed for seven years for sexually abusing two young boys.

Gordon Stanforth (66) preyed on the youngsters over a six-year period in the 1970s while coaching a football team. 

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that the pervert, who has two previous convictions for similar sex offences, groomed the youths and left them paralysed with fear when he assaulted them.

Stanforth, who has been living for the last few years in Tullibody, was jailed for two years in 2003 for sexually abusing a seven-year-old boy. The conviction left the animal charity worker’s colleagues reeling. He had worked for the organisation for 25 years and was subsequently axed from his job.

Residents in Tullibody told the Observer of their shock at learning of his background. He had lived in the area for several years and befriended local families.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said: “He’s been living in the village and we all thought he was a really nice old guy. This has come as a big shock.

“He’s had contact with one family who have children. They are devastated because they became quite close to him and believed his lies.

“He said his daughter was really nasty and had stopped him from seeing his grandkids. But he’s kept his past a secret.

“Now we know why.”

On Thursday, judge Lord Boyd jailed Stanforth for seven years after hearing that he preyed on two youngsters, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at various locations in Lanarkshire between January 1971 and June 1977.

He said: “You have been convicted of sexually assaulting two young boys more than 40 years ago.

“The nature of the offences shows that there was a large degree of planning and grooming involved. You targeted two vulnerable boys. These are serious offences.”

Stanforth pleaded guilty to the sexual offences at the High Court in Glasgow last month but sentence was deferred for the court to obtain background reports.

At the previous hearing the court heard he was fined £150 in November 1974 for lewd, indecent and libidinous offences and was jailed in 2003.

The court heard that Stanforth abused his first victim between 1971 and 1976 at various addresses in the Motherwell area.

He repeatedly assaulted the second boy at a location in Motherwell between 1975 and 1977.

Stanforth was only brought to justice after his victims plucked up enough courage to speak to the police decades later.

Defence advocate Drew McKenzie told the court: “He accepts responsibility for the offences but he cannot remember them.”

Stanforth told a social worker he thought his victims were motivated by financial gain.

Lord Boyd told Stanforth that this was part of the reason why he was imposing a seven-year sentence.

He added: “It is clear that you haven’t accepted full responsibility for your offending behaviour.”

In 2003 it was revealed that Stanforth had attacked a seven-year-old boy at Motherwell Baths in 1973.

He grabbed him in a “lifesaving” position, holding him by the arms and chin in a tight grip so the boy was unable to move away. It took his victim until 2001 to speak to a group for male survivors of sexual abuse.