October 2015

Retired Devon cheesemaker jailed for rape of two young girls

Gerald Goff - Pancrasweek

A craftsman has been jailed for 20 years after he used a hand made rocking horse as a lure to entice two girls into his home.

Retired cheesemaker Gerald Goff groomed one of his victims by showing her the toy and went on to rape both girls repeatedly when they were aged just 12 to 14.

He ensured their silence by warning them they would not be believed if they reported his abuse and was proved right when one of the girls tried to tell her mother and was ignored.

Goff abused the two girls in the 1970s and 1980s when he was living near Okehampton, and one of them was visiting Devon while on holiday.

He was branded as vile and evil by a Judge after he was told that the abuse has blighted the entire adult lives of his victims, who have suffered depression, low self esteem, and self harm.

One of them made a victim impact statement saying Goff had ‘ruined her life’ and the other said she is still suffering every day even though more than 30 years have passed.

Goff was working on farms with agricultural machinery at the time and one of his victims told the jury she still remembers the strong smell of diesel on his clothing when he abused her.

He had trained as a carpenter and used his skills to make the wooden rocking horse which he used in grooming the girls.

Goff, aged 69, of Pancrasweek, near Holsworthy, denied abusing the girls but was found guilty of one indecent assault and six rapes against the first girl and four rapes against the second.

All the offences took place between 1969 to 1972 and 1979 to 1981.

He was jailed for 20 years by Recorder Mr Peter Towler at Exeter Crown Court after two separate trials.

The judge told him:”What you did with the first girl can only be described as grooming. In the case of the second, you invited her to look at a rocking horse and then raped her. Both girls were particularly vulnerable.

“I have no doubt what you have done to both girls has caused them very real distress. One has lived her life with feelings of low self worth and period of depression.

“You continue to deny these matters and have not shown a shred of remorse, or understanding or empathy for what you have put them through.

“When you realised neither were going to complain, you knew they would continue to submit to your vile and evil approaches. It was abuse of two young girls which carried on over a period of years.

“Anyone hearing the details of this case cannot but be appalled by your behaviour.”

During the two trials the women, now in their 50s, told the jury they were forced to strip and take part in sex sessions by Goff after going into a downstairs room known as the parlour where he slept.

One of the girls said she was abused for the first time after being asked into Goff’s room to look at a rocking horse.

The other said she can still remember the smell of diesel which Goff had on him from his work on farm machinery.

Goff said he had left school when he was 14 and completed a five years apprenticeship as a carpenter before working as an agricultural engineer and then at a cheese factory, where he was employed for 30 years until his retirement.

He said in the 1970s he had left his parents’ home and was living with a sister where he remembered the two girls visiting during summer holidays.

He denied using the rocking horse as a means of getting them into his room and said he had never sexually assaulted them, stripped them, or taken off his clothes in their presence.