An “evil” pensioner has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for a campaign of rape and sexual abuse in the 1970s and 80s.
Bradford Crown Court heard today (Thursday) that 74-year-old Anthony George had helped more than 20 children as a foster carer and also had links to a local scout group, but Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said any previous good character or contribution to the community had been marred by the extent of his offending.
Judge Durham Hall said George, who has problems with diabetes and arthritis, would have to serve at least half of the 22-year sentence adding:”If you survive that long.”
Last month George, of Burnley Road, Luddenden Foot pleaded guilty to a series of offences including two rapes, buggery and indecency with a child in relation to three complainants who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The victims, a man and two women, were in court to see George jailed for the crimes he committed against them between 1975 and 1987.
Prosecutor Mark McKone said George started to abuse the male complainant, who was only 10 at the time, after telling him he was going to teach him about sex.
The court heard that all three youngsters were abused repeatedly and in various locations and Mr McKone summarised their victim personal statements which outlined the severe effects of George’s activities.
One of the female complainants, who was raped on two occasions, said she had been “emotionally scarred” by his crimes and felt very angry towards George.
Judge Durham Hall described George’s offending as “a very grave campaign” of sexual abuse and he agreed with the victims’ description of the defendant as evil.
The judge highlighted the courage shown by the victims who he said had been the “survivors” of George’s behaviour.
Judge Durham Hall said all three victims were vulnerable at the time and he told George: “You committed these offences and must be punished for them regardless of the years that have passed.”
He said George, who has problems with diabetes and arthritis, would have to serve at least half of the 22-year sentence adding: “If you survive that long.”
A sexual offences prevention order was imposed which bans George from having any contact with his victims for the rest of his life and he will also be registered as a sex offender with the police.
Barrister Jeremy Lindsay, for George, said there was no excuse or explanation for why a man who had done so much good turned into the kind of repulsive monster that the press and public vilify.
Mr Lindsay highlighted the fact that his client had admitted the 17 offences at a hearing last month and that had spared the complainants of having to relive the events during a trial.
“This man has not offended since the late 1980s and 27 or 28 years have elapsed,” said Mr Lindsay.
“There is no evidence that he presents a threat now to any child.”
Speaking after the case, Inspector David Shaw, of Calderdale Safeguarding Unit, said: “This substantial sentence sends a clear message that those who sexually abuse others will not be tolerated.
“The victims in this case have been incredibly brave in giving their evidence, and now George will now almost certainly spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“I hope this also sends a positive message to others that no matter how long ago an offence took place, we will still thoroughly investigate allegations and encourage victims to come forward.
“Anyone who may be a victim, or knows someone who may be a victim of a sexual offence can contact Calderdale Safeguarding Unit via 101.”