September 2016

Businessman given life sentence after abusing 12 boys


A Scout leader and “pillar of the community” who indulged in a 40-year campaign of horrific sexual abuse against 12 boys has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of seven years behind bars.

Textiles businessman Philip Longbottom, 67, used his wealth and influence to befriend his victims’ families and then bribed and threatened the children to keep them quiet.

Father-of-three Longbottom, of Oakdale Drive, Wrose, Shipley, had already pleaded guilty to more than 40 offences, stretching from 1968 to 1996, with a further offence in 2010.

They included multiple counts of rape, serious sexual assault, and indecent assault.

He lived at a farm at Goose Eye, Keighley, which prosecutor Kate Batty said was often an “open house” for parties where he would ply his victims with drink and drugs.

“He showed a real interest in boys who came to the house, he was not interested in the girls,” she said.

“He would engineer situations where he would have free access to abuse them.

“There was significant planning and abuse of trust in every case.”

Longbottom, who was also involved with a CB radio club, the church boys’ brigade, and the sea cadets took many of his victims, who were aged between seven and 19 and often from disadvantaged families, on expeditions, camping, swimming, and on holidays abroad.

He showered them with money and expensive gifts in a bid to buy their silence and affections, even buying one victim a Porsche for his 17th birthday.

Impact statements from 11 of the 12 victims were read to the court during today’s hearing, with two choosing to address Longbottom, who sat motionless in the dock with his head bowed throughout, directly.

One said: “You saw our family in turmoil and came into our lives as a ray of sunshine, you gave us hope.

“But, it wasn’t with clean intent, you were grooming me and my whole family.

“The sight of you filled me with dread. I resent every moment of freedom you have had, it is an insult to your victims.

“I hope you feel the sickness of guilt every second you spend in prison.”

Longbottom’s offending took place in various locations including at his own home, at victim’s homes, on camping trips, in swimming pool changing rooms, and the cinema.

Jayne Beckett, defending, said Longbottom accepted everything said in court and described him as a “broken man” who had experienced an “unbelievably spectacular fall from grace.”

Sentencing him for his “dreadful deeds”, Judge Jonathan Rose said “deviant” Longbottom had a “perception of children as things to be bought and used.”

He said: “You were a dangerous sexual predator, and you systematically sought out boys as your prey.

“The offending by you took place on a virtually continuous basis. You were able to offend with such ease because of your wealth and involvement with community organisations.

“Each of your victims harbours awful memories, and all have suffered profoundly. Not one of them has been left undamaged by your actions.

“You blame two of the complainants for going to the police and blame them for having been arrested and put before the court, as if they had done wrong. They have not.

“They are brave and honest, while you castigate them for their courage.

“Your offending was wicked and the harm it caused was long-lasting, if not ever-lasting. It is regrettable it has taken you so many years to admit it.”

Longbottom was also ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.