March 2019

Former soldier, 79, jailed for sex attacks

A 79-year-old former soldier has been put behind bars for sex attacks he carried out half a century ago.

Malcolm Burwood threatened his young victim to ensure his silence over the sickening ordeal that has “haunted” the rest of his life.

Burwood, of Dean Gardens, Houghton, had denied two charges of indecent assault, one of indecency with a child and another serious sexual offence but was found guilty by a jury after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court earlier this year.

At the sentence hearing today, where Burwood was jailed for 12 years, his victim read a heartbreaking impact statement about the effect the offences have had on his life.

The man, who cannot be named, told the court: “I clearly remember being a very frightened child.

“This has haunted me, it has blighted my life.”

The victim said he has struggled with relationships throughout his life and has even attempted suicide.

He told the court: “I have felt there is no hope or future. It is like a storm inside of me.”

But the man added: “Finally the whole horror of my childhood is out in the open and I hope I can finally have some closure and a more settled life.”

Judge Edward Bindloss said Burwood, who has a “catalogue” of medical problems, including obstructive airways disease, renal failure and hearing loss, must sign the sex offenders register for life.

The judge told him: “Prison is going to be harder for you to endure than a young and fit man but the central argument is, had you gone to the police at the time of this offending, you would have served your prison sentence when you were young and fit.”

The court heard Burwood handed in character references from relatives who called him “a caring man, a loving man” and said he was a “rock” for the family.