July 2016

Child sex offender has “unduly lenient” sentence increased


A sex offender has been sentenced to an extra two and a half years in prison after his original five year term was deemed unduly lenient.

Former coach company worker Leonard Garnett, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, was found guilty at Teesside Crown Court in May of an historic child sex offence.

The 58-year-old was in his 20s when he removed the underpants of a young boy, aged five or six, and tried to penetrate him, Lord Justice Treacy told the Appeal Court yesterday (Wednesday, July 27).

The boy began crying but Garnett told him to be quiet and tried again.

The victim suffered psychological harm and tried to cut his own throat when older, the judge added.

He told his family of the ordeal but nothing was done and it was not until many years later he was able to tell police what Garnett did to him.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP referred the original sentence to the Court of Appeal which today (Wednesday, July 27) increased Garnett’s sentence to seven years and six months with a year extended licence period.

Despite his conviction by a jury, Garnett still protests his innocence and insists “the allegation has been made up”, said Lord Justice Treacy

Joel Smith QC, on behalf of the Attorney General, argued the five year sentence was nowhere near tough enough.

“That Garnett was “struggling” at the time to “come to terms with his sexuality” was “not an excuse or explanation”, he added.

Chris Baker, for Garnett, said the judge who jailed him was experienced and having sat through the trial was in the best position to sentence him.

Lord Justice Treacy, sitting with Mrs Justice Nicola Davies and Judge Johanna Cutts, QC, said Garnett was a man of otherwise good character who had led an industrious life and many years had passed since the attack without further offending.

But he concluded: “Five years after a trial was not only lenient but unduly lenient in the circumstances of this case where such a boy was involved.

May 2016

Coach company boss jailed for six years for child sex offences

A coach company employee is behind bars for child sex offences dating back three decades.

Leonard Garnett, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, was found guilty after a trial.

He was jailed for six years and was also put on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life by Judge Peter Armstrong.

The 58-year-old was convicted of buggery and attempted buggery at the end of last month’s trial.

After the case, Detective Constable Dawn Clarke told how the ordeal had affected the victim.

The police officer also revealed how Garnett – an unmarried gay man – appeared a “nice bloke”.

Det Con Clarke said: “If you took him at face-value, that’s how he would seem, outwardly.

“In reality, he is a dangerous and devious paedophile who we are pleased has been convicted.”

Garnett was given a job in the family business after the death of his father, Leonard Snr.

Despite what some locals think, none of the offences were against children who used the buses, and he did not have access to the details of young travellers.

Det Con Clarke told how the victim reported the abuse to his family at the time, but it was not acted upon.

“It was only when he was a grown man, that he had the confidence to come forward,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking, really.

“From when I first dealt with the victim, I felt incredibly sorry for him and what he had gone through.

“It was very emotional for him. He is usually such a very strong person, but he found this particularly hard.”

“But our concerns were that the victim was very, very young at the time when he was abused”

Garnett, of Wear Terrace, Bishop Auckland, was also made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SHPO), which bans him from having unsupervised contact with under-16s.