October 2015

Former judo coach jailed for abusing Norfolk girl

A former judo coach who sexually assaulted a young girl in the 1990s has been put behind bars.

William Westwood, 47, admitted the indecent assault of the victim, who was under the age of 16 at the time and lives in Norfolk.

He was sentenced to 20 months in prison today at Norwich Crown Court.

Westwood of Duchess Close, Linton, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, had pleaded guilty at a hearing in August before he was sentenced by Recorder John Gallagher.

Officers from Norfolk police’s child abuse investigation unit charged Westwood following a lengthy investigation launched after the victim came forward in September 2014.

Westwood, who worked as a judo coach in the Midlands area, abused the victim while on a trip abroad.

Detective Constable Tristan Coull, the officer investigating said: “It was an incredibly brave decision for the victim to come forward and speak to police after such a long period of time.

“She has had to live with the consequences of the abuse for almost 20 years, abuse which had a profound impact on her having taken place at such a significant time in her life.

“We hope such a sentence will help give other victims of abuse the courage to come forward and speak to the police.

“Equally we hope it will give the victim a sense of closure and that she can now move on more positively with her life.”

The abuse took place overseas however the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lives in Norfolk.

Detectives went to great lengths to investigate the case as old legislation from the Sexual Offences Act 1998 permitted officers from the child abuse investigation unit to arrest and charge the suspect even though the offence occurred abroad.

Speaking in court Recorder Gallagher said: “It is abundantly clear there was an element of grooming in this case and you must be punished for committing a serious sexual offence.

“Others who work with children in this way must know the courts will take action when tutors, teachers and anyone else abuses their position of trust.”

Westwood was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.