June 2010

Vandenborn sentenced to 12 years

A 62 year old Jerseyman found guilty of rape and indecent assault on two young girls has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Leonard Vandenborn denied attacking two girls, who were aged between 8-14 and 9-15 at the time of the offences. However, after a five day trial in April, the jury found him guilty of rape and twelve counts of indecent assault. The indecent assaults and rape took place between 1975 and 1987. 

When Leonard Vandenborn arrived at court, he knew he’d be returning to prison. Even his defence Advocate David Steenson said he had a ‘difficult job’ as the nature of the offences meant there were few mitigating circumstances and because Vandenborn still denies the charges he couldn’t claim that his client shows remorse.

In summing up, the judge Sir Christopher Pitchers said it was impossible to exagerrate the grave consequences of this kind of sexual abuse. They began when the two girls were just eight and nine years old. He said it was ‘terrifying’ and ‘disgraceful’ and though his sentence would eventually come to an end, the victims would have to live with what he’d done for the rest of their lives. 

Victim A was indecently assaulted between the years of 1975 and 1981. When she turned 15 she went to the police but she had a change of heart and the charges weren’t taken any further. Victim B was indecently assaulted between 1980 and 1987. In 1992 Vandenborn was sent to prison for six months for indecently assaulting a woman in a seperate incident. It was only last September that Vandenborn was arrested in connection with allegations by Victim A and he refused to answer questions. He was arrested again in October in connection with Victim B’s allegations. 

The two women who brought the charges against Vandenborn were praised for their bravery and for making the most out of their lives. The judge pointed out that Vandenborn didn’t spare them the ordeal of having to give evidence. When he was sentenced to twelve years including eight for rape, Vandenborn showed no emotion. He simply bowed as he left the courtroom, ready to return to prison.

After the sentencing, the States of Jersey Police released the following statement : “The sentencing to 12 years imprisonment at The Royal Court of Leonard Miles Vandenborn represents the successful conclusion to an investigation within the ongoing historic abuse enquiry. We recognise the courage of both victims, for giving evidence in this case, and hope that the verdict and sentencing helps to bring closure to these serious offences. The States of Jersey Police are committed to investigating all allegations of abuse and violence and will support victims who report offences to us. The force has highly skilled officers, who work in this specialist area and who are committed to bringing offenders to justice.”