A child abuser whose vile crimes ruined the lives of two women has begun a prison sentence of more than seven years after one of his “brave” victims tracked him down using Facebook.
For years casino worker Barry Willoughby, a former Queensbury man, had enjoyed his new life on cruise ships and in the United State of America, but his past finally caught up with him when he was extradited back to this country to stand trial over the abuse he committed back in the 1980s.
A police inquiry which had been started in the early 1990s was resumed in 2010 after one of Willoughby’s victims told officers that she had found her abuser after recognising him from a photograph on Facebook.
Willoughby’s extradition 14 months ago led to headlines in the local media and that resulted in another woman, from Halifax, also coming forward to make further claims of sexual abuse against him.
A jury at Bradford Crown Court took less than two hours to find the 46-year-old, who previously lived for a time in Queensbury, guilty on 10 charges of indecent assault and three of indecency with a child relating to his abuse of the two women.
The court heard how Willoughby, who has been living at Mandale Road, Buttershaw, Bradford, since his return from the US, “groomed” one of his victims so that he could abuse her between the ages of 11 and 15.
The woman, who used Facebook to find Willoughby, was molested by him when she was aged just nine and he was acting as her babysitter.
As he jailed Willoughby for a total of seven years and 92 days Judge Jonathan Rose said he had no qualms about the effect the sentence would have on his life because of the damage suffered by both of his victims.
“For whilst you have enjoyed a good life all that I have heard and all that I have read is of lives ruined by what you did in the 1980s,” the judge told Willoughby.
“You’ve been convicted because these two women told the truth however difficult it was for them to do so.
‘’They told the truth because they are brave women. They are brave women because after twenty plus years they faced their demons, they came into court and they told the jury of the appalling way in which you ruined their lives.
“Both of them were brave and you were the coward because you would not admit your offending and so they had to relive it in front of the jury.”
The court heard that some of the offending committed by Willoughby while he was babysitting took place at a time when his own wife was in hospital having a baby.
Willoughby, who now faces the prospect of never being able to return to the US, will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and he will be subject to an indefinite sexual offences prevention order.
Speaking after the sentence, Detective Inspector Vanessa Smith of the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, said: “The process to bring Willoughby to justice has been a long one, but we believe that the sentence justifies the hard work of our detectives, in conjunction with the US Authorities.
“I would like to thank them for their co-operation with the extradition proceedings and of course, the victims themselves for coming forward. We hope this will give them some closure after all this time.
“We also hope that this case demonstrates that our officers will do all they can to locate those wanted for sexual offences, regardless of where they might be living now.
“Victims of sexual offences, no matter how historic, can be assured that West Yorkshire Police will continue to thoroughly and sensitively investigate all reports with the aim of bringing offenders to justice.”