Army cadets captain molested four boys in Burnley and Rossendale
A former army cadet leader who abused four East Lancashire boys under his command has been told he might die behind bars.
George Walker, 80, recently living in Plymouth who was a lieutenant and later a captain with the force’s Burnley and Haslingden detachments in the mid-70s, embarked on a ‘campaign of abuse’ with the impressionable cadets.
He even befriended at least two sets of parents, as what began with kissing and fondling the youngsters later escalated to offences akin to rape, Burnley Crown Court was told.
Two of his victims told Judge Andrew Jeffries QC that his careful grooming, coupled with claims he would help them fulfill their dreams of joining the military, had driven them to consider or even attempt suicide in later life.
Walker, who had moved from the Burnley and Rossendale areas to Plymouth, was first convicted of molesting two army cadets in 2017, after a trial, and jailed for five years and three months
And it was the coverage of his trial in the Lancashire Telegraph which led a number of his later victims to come forward and tell police about their ordeals.
Lisa Worsley, prosecuting, said in the case of one boy, whose parents he had befriended, he asked him to help paint his cottage in Edenfield.
But when Walker took the opportunity, while the job was ongoing, to grope him, he ran home, she added.
His parents branded him a liar though, when he told them what had happened, and insisted he was a ‘dirty little boy’, the court heard.
Miss Worsley said Walker paid for his victim to go on an army camp in Germany and would buy him sweets.
Walker pleaded guilty to 20 indecency offences, involving boys aged as young as 13, in the 1970s.
Jailing him for a further eight years and four months, Judge Jeffries said he was aware his victims still felt guilty they had not come forward and reported the abuse at the time, to spare others the same ordeal.
But the judge told Walker: “None of them should feel an ounce of shame or guilt. The guilt and shame is all yours.”
Simeon Evans, defending, said his client now accepted, quite late in life, the gravity and seriousness of his offending, and the impact this had on his victims.
The court heard Walker also had a 1982 conviction for buggery, also involving a cadet, for which he was jailed for three years.