September 2019

Winsford man who laughed after sexually assaulting young girls jailed

A man from Winsford who laughed after forcing one of his victim to engage in a sexual act with him has been jailed for historic sex offences.

Leonard Cottrell, a former partner at Winsford Tool Hire – now of Sudbury Drive in Heald Green – was in his late twenties when he committed the offences.

The 75-year-old appeared in Chester Crown Court on Friday, where he showed ‘no remorse’ after hearing statements prepared by his victims.

The first statement was read aloud in court by one of the victims, who said his actions had left her with flashbacks which had caused the breakdown of three relationships.

It was revealed that Cottrell indecently assaulted her around the age of six.

The court heard how Cottrell laughed after this act was completed.

In her statement, the victim said: “I cannot think of any area of my life not affected, and at times it felt like life was too hard to carry on.

“You got on with your life as if nothing had happened.

“I had to explain to my children what had happened, and to see the impact this has had on their lives has made me feel guilty and responsible.”

A second victim, also assaulted in the 1970s by Cottrell while aged eight, had her statement read out by Nicholas Williams, prosecuting.

She said that she originally ‘learned to live’ with what had happened.

Her view changed however after hearing what had happened to his other victim, which left her ‘not knowing how to feel’ and ‘struggling to process’ what she had heard.

Williams also revealed that Cottrell had no previous convictions.

Myles Wilson, defending, offered little in mitigation for his client’s actions, adding only that character references purported him to be hard working and supportive of local sports teams by providing equipment.

In sentencing, Judge Stephen Everett revealed that he could only use powers which were appropriate in the 1970s, when the offences took place.

He said: “Your victims showed huge courage to face you across the court room and read out their statements, detailing what you did and how it affected them

“You ruined their lives and thought that you could brush it under the carpet while getting on with yours.

“You did terrible things and you must now pay for them.”

Cottrell was sentenced to nine years and three months immediate imprisonment.

He was also made to sign the sex offender register and handed a sexual harm prevention order for life.