November 2015

Former Leeds Golf Club pro jailed for sex offences against young girl


A former professional at Leeds Golf Club has been jailed after admitting historic sex offences against a 13-year-old girl.

A court heard Christopher Mowl committed the offences during the 1990s while working at the club, based in the Roundhay area of the city.

Mowl, now 44, was jailed for two years, three months after pleading guilty to two offences of indecent assault and one of gross indecency.

Leeds Crown Court was told Mowl was in his early twenties when he committed repeated offences against the youngster after moving to Leeds to work at the club.

Duncan Ritchie, prosecuting, said Mowl would threaten to hurt the victim’s brother if she did not do what he told her.

The offending came to light last year after the victim, now aged in her thirties, found the courage to tell the police about what had happened to her.

Mr Ritchie said the three offences Mowl pleaded guilty to were only a sample of the offences which taken place on a number of occasions.

In a statement provided to the court, the victim described how the offending still troubled her and she suffered from anxiety.

Andrew Stranex, mitigating, said Mowl, now of Brookelea, Lightcliffe, Halifax, had committed the offences when he was a relatively young man and had not repeated the behaviour since.

He said it had happened at a time when he had moved to the club from his then home in Shrewsbury to be the professional at Leeds Golf Club.

Mr Stranex said: “What his life was about at the time was just golf. That was his focus and his life revolved around it. He befriended the complainant and they developed a friendship.”

He added: “He overstepped the mark. For almost 24 years he had no reason to expect the knock on the door which came and that was a considerable shock to him.

“He felt genuine remorse and regret for what he has done. He is a very different person.”

The barrister said it was an “isolated period of offending” which had not been repeated. He added that Mowl was of previous good character and had a wife and family.

Jailing Mowl, judge Rodney Jameson, QC, said: “It is never a pleasure to send someone of otherwise good character to custody. But you must understand, Mr Mowl, that I am obliged by statute to follow guidelines.”