April 2017

Gardener jailed for 18 years for sex abuse of girl and random stabbing attack in street

A 37-YEAR-OLD gardener has been jailed for 18 years for a catalogue of sexual abuse on a troubled schoolgirl and a random stabbing attack in the street after his victim said she was going to the police.

Luke Price said: “I’m getting locked up, have that,” before attacking a man in Central Avenue, Baildon, shortly before midnight on October 8 last year, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Price, of Albert Walk, Shipley, was yesterday convicted by a jury of nine offences of sexual activity with the girl, starting when she was 14, and unlawfully and maliciously wounding a man with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm. He was cleared of three similar sexual offences.

During the week-long trial, the court heard that the offences against the girl came to light on the same night Price stabbed a self-employed man in a random and gratuitous attack.

Prosecutor Ian Howard said Price lashed out indiscriminately in frustration as he was walking home that night. A man was stabbed in the chest, suffering a collapsed lung and a laceration to his liver. He felt a sharp pain in his right side and blacked out at home before spending four days in Leeds General Infirmary. The court heard he had since made a full recovery.

The girl told the police Price began abusing her when she was 14 and it had happened countless times at various locations, including Baildon Moor. He had bribed her for sex with money and gifts.

The jury heard that Price’s semen was found on the inside of the bra the teenager was wearing when the police seized her clothes for examination.

He denied the offences, labelling the girl a manipulative attention seeker and a fantasist who lied about him to get herself out of trouble.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, told Price: “You have been convicted of a catalogue of very serious offences indeed.”

He had sexually abused the girl on “hundreds, if not thousands, of separate occasions” then attacked a random stranger in the street.

Price was jailed for 13 years for the child sexual offences and for five years to run consecutively for wounding with intent.

He must register as a sex offender indefinitely and Judge Thomas made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order without limit of time.

The judge publicly commended Detective Constable Alison Hanson for her skill in interviewing the troubled teenager, who was at first reluctant to disclose what Price had done to her.

Judge Thomas said the interview, played in court, was “a first class example of its kind” and urged the police to use it in future training exercises.

After the case, Sergeant Clare Turner, of the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, said: “We would like to thank the victim for her bravery in disclosing Price’s crimes to our officers and hope that today’s outcome will give her some closure and allow her to move forward with her life.

“We also hope this significant sentence will encourage other victims of sexual abuse to come forward and speak with our specially trained officers, so action can be taken against perpetrators.

“Price is clearly a dangerous man who was prepared to resort to violence and the communities of Shipley and Baildon should feel safer with him behind bars.”