May 2016

Former scout leader jailed for seven years for sexually abusing boy

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An 80-year-old former scout leader has been jailed for seven years for sexually abusing a boy scout.

Clifford Fairhurst committed the offences 50 years ago during the 1960’s.

He was found guilty by a jury at Leicester Crown Court of three counts of indecent assault and three of indecency with a child, when the scout was between 11 and 14 years old.

Fairhurst, of Noble Street, Leicester, denied the offences claiming nothing untoward happened.

The victim, now a retired police officer with 30 years’ service, told the jury that he was a naïve child, who had not even realised he was being abused.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Hammond said: “This defendant was a scoutmaster in Leicester.

“There’s no doubt at all he decided he was going to groom this boy for his own sexual gratification.

“He’d sometimes make him stay behind, after scouts, to play hide-and-seek or murder mystery with the lights off.

“He would take hold of him and put his hand down his shorts.

“It was over a two year period and happened at least a dozen times.

“The other part of the abuse was at Vestry Street Swimming Baths, in Leicester, on about 10 to 12 occasions in a cubicle when helping the boy to dry.

“The victim thought this was a game of fun and felt fortunate and honoured the scoutmaster should treat him in this way – he had no idea it was wrong.”

Further abuse happened in a scout tent in Ireland.

When he became a little older he realised it was wrong but decided to get on with his life, said Philip Gibbs, prosecuting, during the trial.

However, in 2014 he became aware of high profile historic sex cases, involving celebrities, and after watching a programme about abuse on television he broke down and told his wife.

Judge Hammond said: “No-one should minimise the legacy of sexual abuse, even after 50 years; the pain was still there.

“It was still buried there and like a volcano it came before him again.

“A scoutmaster is a man in a position of trust and the boy’s family entrusted him with the care of their son.

“Mitigating features?

“There are none.

“The defendant didn’t even have the moral courage to plead guilty and he denied doing anything wrong – he lied.”

Judge Hammond said it was important for the victim to know was believed by the jury and said he hoped he could find comfort from that and “move on with his life.”

Clive Stockwell, defence counsel, said after the unanimous guilty verdicts that the judge should take into account the defendant’s age, health and the fact he had already served a long sentence in 2005, for offences committed many years after these offences.