August 2008

Golf club OAP avoids jail

A HIGHLY respected 69-year-old man who groped two teenage girls at a Wirral golf club has been given a suspended prison sentence.

A judge told Gerard Gray that it was a tragedy for a man of his age to find himself in court with his reputation seriously tarnished.

“I can only hope the sentence will have a positive impact in deterring you from committing similar offences in the future. You must take considerable care in any dealings with young people in future,” said Judge Mark Brown.

He imposed a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years, placed him under supervision for two years and ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for seven years.

Judge Brown warned Gray, who had made inappropriate remarks as well as touching them over their clothing, that if he breaches the order he will go to jail.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Gray worked in the shop at Arrowe Park golf club and he was introduced to the two girls by the woman owner of the club’s cafe.

The incidents took place between May and November last year when the girls were aged 15 and 16.

Gray, of Town Lane, Bebington, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual activity with a child and three of sexual assault.

When arrested and interviewed Gray accepted the facts but denied that his behaviour was inappropriate or sexual.

The court heard that both girls are now uncomfortable with older men and do not trust them.

Gareth Bellis, defending, produced glowing character references for Gray which described him as “a first class ambassador” for golf and spoke of his honesty and enthusiasm.