October 2018

Whitby musician jailed for historic child-sex offences

Keith Swales

A Whitby man has been jailed for 10 years for sexually abusing two young girls and a young woman.

Keith Swales, 63, a well-known musician around Whitby, indecently assaulted the children in the late 1980s and early 90s at various locations.

He also sexually assaulted a young woman eight years ago while she was asleep, Leeds Crown Court heard. Swales hid his dark secret from his family for decades until the victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, finally pressed charges.

He denied sexually abusing any of the victims and took the case to trial in September, when a jury convicted him of six counts of indecent assault against a child under 13 years and one count of sexually assaulting the woman.

Swales, of Spring Hill Court, appeared for sentence on Wednesday knowing that a long prison stretch was inevitable. Prosecutor Mark McKone said that in some instances Swales sexually abused the victims either while they were either asleep or falling to sleep.

He said one of the child victims was sexually assaulted on at least two occasions. The young woman who was attacked years later fought Swales off after waking and catching him in the act.

He said the victims, who are now adults, had been seriously affected by Swales’s wicked crimes and felt a strange sense of guilt.

One of the victims, who was a young girl when the abuse occurred, was “still living with the consequences now”, added the barrister.

“She says she will never get closure (and)… sometimes gets flashbacks,” added Mr McKone.

“Giving evidence (during the trial) was one of the most difficult things she has had to do. It brought anguish and stress and brought everything back. She said she considered harming herself as the trial was imminent.”

Mr McKone said Swales’s despicable acts had had such an effect on the other child victim that she thought “there was something wrong with her, like she was sick”.

“She was worried about other men and she said even now, when people come close to her, she fears that she will be hurt,” he added.

“She said she didn’t want her parents to know through shame. She says she feels like the villain.”

The third victim, described as a “vulnerable” woman, said she had felt paranoid, angry and unclean after being abused. Mr McKone said the evidence showed that Swales was “attracted to young girls” and asked for an ancillary court order to restrict the paedophile’s contact with children when he is released from prison.

Recorder Andrew Dallas told Swales: “This was very serious offending which… has had a very marked effect on the lives of all three of (your victims).”

Mr Dallas castigated Swales for his “dogged denials” and for “not showing an ounce of remorse” for what he had done to the victims, including “very young” children who had suffered “deep trauma”.

He told Swales that his abuse of the victims and subsequent denials had “destroyed many lives”. Swales will serve half of the 10-year jail sentence before being released on licence.

He was also made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order for an indefinite period “to protect members of the public and children in particular”.

The order prohibits Swales from living or staying in any household with girls under 16 years of age or having any advertent contact with under-age females.