Over a period of about 15 years from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, when you were in your early 20s to your mid 30s, you were a well known DJ in the clubs around Salford and Manchester, and thereafter became a popular music presenter on Piccadilly Radio in Manchester, where you also ran a record shop. It is clear that throughout that period and in those capacities you exploited your celebrity status to sexually abuse young girls at a time when they were between 13 – 15 years of age.
Anyone who considers that society was a better place then than now to be a child would do well to reflect upon the evidence that this trial disclosed about that period; when sex education, to the extent that it was taught, was rudimentary and sexual matters in general were little discussed within the home. That state of ignorance was one of the main facilitators of your ability to exploit these young girls; none of whom, with the exception of two whose vulnerability was enhanced by having previously been sexually abused by others, had any prior sexual experience.
In the main you did not have to use force to abuse these girls, as the combination of their naivety and your celebrity was such that they willingly came with you to the various locations where you abused them. Those who were raped had little or no understanding of what was happening to them and felt that they could do little to prevent the abuse taking place, whilst those who consented to having sexual intercourse with you were awed by your status. Thereafter their wholly unwarranted feelings of guilt and shame prevented them in the main from disclosing what you had done to them, either to their parents or the authorities.
Your well judged cynicism that your victims would in the main be too scared to complain about your conduct at that time, has only been matched by the ill judged cynicism which you displayed in the course of the trial that, after all these years, the jury would not believe the accounts of your victims.
The immediate effect of your abuse of these girls ranged from feelings of disgust and degradation, so that they never wanted to have anything more to do with you, through to their being so corrupted that they became promiscuous both with yourself and others.
Whilst the lasting and corrosive effect of your abuse of these girls has been profound; some of them have self harmed or sought solace in alcohol, whilst others have required medical or psychiatric treatment. Many have had difficulties in forming and retaining emotional and physical relationships as adults both with their partners and sometimes even their own children, with whom they have either been distant or over protective; so that another generation has been adversely affected by your conduct.
The catalyst which brought these events into the open was the media publicity which followed upon the death of Jimmy Savile in 2011, a person with whom you were known to have worked at an early stage of your career. Thereafter when a few of your victims disclosed to the police what you had done to them in their childhoods, others came forward who frankly told the police that, without the support of those other victims, they didn’t feel their own accounts would have been believed.
It would, with one exception, be invidious for me to relate any one of your victim’s experiences, as being more worthy of inclusion than others. However some common themes have emerged from some of these accounts. Including the selection by you of young girls who were both physically and emotionally immature, your initial approaches to them to make them feel really special, and the audacity of your suggestion to some of them that they should feel grateful that they had lost their virginity to you rather than to someone else.
To use the modern idiom you “groomed” your victims, some of whom were plied with alcohol and allowed to smoke cigarettes, whilst others were impressed with the accoutrements of your relative wealth and fashion, as a beguiling contrast to the strictness and austerity of their own homes. You appeared to be kind and charming, and in relation to one of your victims, who was particularly vulnerable by reason of having already been sexually abused by another, you feigned sympathy and understanding before taking advantage of the situation and raping her.
The jury convicted you of having sexually abused 11 different girls during this period of time, 6 of whom you raped and 5 of whom were, as I have said, so awed by your celebrity status that they consented to having sexual intercourse with you. Some of those you raped were forcibly penetrated by you, causing them acute pain and distress, whilst you ejaculated inside them.
However it is clear that all of these girls were used by you for your own sexual gratification, which in some cases was enhanced by you encouraging them to masturbate you both manually and orally. In my judgement it is no mere coincidence that each of these girls was between 13 – 15 years of age when you abused them in this manner, as I am sure that, despite your protestations to the contrary, you have a sexual interest in girls of that age.
As is apparent from a number of recent cases and the current sentencing guidelines themselves, the sentencing of those convicted of historic offences is not a straightforward task. In this regard I am satisfied that had you been convicted of these offences at a time more proximate to their commission, the danger which you then posed to young girls would have merited a sentence of life imprisonment. Indeed this is borne out by your conviction in 1999 for an offence of having sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16, namely 15 years of age; an offence which you continue to deny but of which I am satisfied, having heard the evidence, you were guilty.
However you are now 73 years of age. Therefore I have had to consider whether a sentence of either life imprisonment or an extended sentence is now the appropriate disposal in your case, or whether in reality given your age and the length of any determinate sentence of custody, the latter will suffice in order to satisfy the twin aims of punishment and the protection of the public. In my judgement in the present circumstances, the appropriate sentence is a determinate sentence of custody.
Although I am of course duty bound and intend to pass upon you the least sentence which is commensurate with the seriousness of the offences of which you have been convicted, you can have no justifiable complaint that most if not all of your remaining life may be served in prison, as you have maintained your liberty in the intervening period since the commission of the offences for which you are to be punished.
At the time of the commission of the offences of indecent assault the maximum sentence for such offences was 2 years’ custody. This court remains bound by that restriction. Thus on counts 1, 14, 25 31 and 35 there will be sentences of 18 months’ imprisonment, and on counts 6, 8, 18, 22, 23 and 24 there will be sentences of 12 months’ imprisonment. However on each of the convictions for rape, namely counts 5, 7, 9, 10, 16, 19, and 27 there will be sentences of 25 years’ imprisonment.
All of those sentences will run concurrently with each other making a total custodial sentence of 25 years. As you know Parliament has decided that you will serve half of that period and then be released on licence for the remainder of it; such that if you were to commit any offence within that period or do not adhere to the conditions of your licence you will be liable to be returned to custody. Upon your release and for the remainder of your life you will be obliged to comply with the notification requirements provided by s.80 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and you will be barred from regulated activity with children under s.2 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.