May 2018

Trimdon Grange man who abused girls 30 years ago jailed

A MAN who sexually abused girls more than 30 years ago is beginning a 12-year prison sentence after finally answering for his crimes.

But, David Bowes would have received much longer sentences had the offences been committed in recent years, as the sentencing tariffs were much lower at the time they took place.

Durham Crown Court heard all the incidents happened when the girls were aged seven upwards.

Bowes remained unconvicted until one of the victims came forward to report what took place to her as a child, in early 2016.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said despite the passage of time, the girl spoke of her “vivid memory” of the first incident, which began with him performing a sex act in front of her and inviting her over to him.

Mr Baker said Bowes, who was in his 20s and early 30s when the offending took place, “took every opportunity” to repeat the offences.

Another girl was interviewed later in 2016 and she recalled incidents having taken place involving Bowes, while another girl gave a written statement outlining similar behaviour inflicted on her by the defendant, who told her to tell no-one.

Bowes, now 64, of Northside Terrace, Trimdon Grange, was arrested and, in two interviews with police, denied all the allegations.

He denied four counts of indecent assault and five of indecency with a child, but at the end of a week-long trial a jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all but one charge of indecent assault, on which there was a not guilty verdict.

Rod Hunt, for Bowes, told the sentencing hearing he was unable to comment on the facts of the case, as the defendant was, “of that not uncommon group of offenders who simply refuses to admit what he has done against the overwhelming evidence against him”.

Mr Hunt told Judge Christopher Prince: “These were offences well in the past. He’s a man who has worked every possible working day of his life and been a model prisoner.

“He knows he has to do the sentence your honour is now bound to pass.”

Jailing him, Judge Prince told Bowes his offending had a “profound effect” on the victims, with his only viable mitigation that he has not committed further offences in the intervening period.

He told Bowes under modern sentencing guidelines the jail term could have been as much as 18 to 19 years.

As an offender, “of particular concern” he will be unable to be considered for parole until he has served at least six years of his sentence.

Bowes will be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, “until further order”, as well as lifetime registration as a sex offender.