September 2017

Elderly Coundon Grange man jailed for two years

A 78-year-old man has been jailed for two years for the sexual abuse of a vulnerable young female

The victim, who almost immediately reported Alexander Coglan’s actions to a relative, is said to have suffered deep psychological trauma as a result.

A judge at Durham Crown Court praised the woman’s courage in pursuing the case, which, despite Coglan’s initial denials, resulted in his conviction after he changed his pleas to two charges of sexual assault, several months before the case was to have gone for trial.

Coglan, of St Mark’s Court, Coundon Grange, near Bishop Auckland had denied three counts of sexual assault at the plea hearing in May.

But, following a case conference, the prosecution was informed of his intention to admit two of the charges in late July, negating the need for the listed trial, in November.

The court was told that the victim has given up her voluntary work, is fearful of travelling alone on public transport and is much less outgoing than prior to the incident, in January last year.

Her tearful father read a victim impact statement to the court in which he said his daughter’s “cheerful, positive outlook on life” has been damaged “irrevocably” by what took place.

Jailing him, Recorder Peter Makepeace told Coglan: “There’s no doubt at all that your behaviour has had a very considerable effect on the victim, who has required professional intervention.”

He made Coglan subject to a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, while he must register as a sex offender for ten years.

A formal not guilty verdict was recorded on the outstanding count of sexual assault, after the Crown offered no evidence in the light of Coglan’s eventual admissions to the other two charges