December 2010

Landlord jailed for sex attacks

A PUB landlord who raped and indecently assaulted children has been jailed for 18 years.

Garry Crooks “stole the childhood” of his victims, Durham Crown Court heard yesterday.

The 55-year-old, who ran several County Durham pubs, raped and indecently assaulted two children and indecently assaulted a third.

On several occasions, he offered a child 10p for an act of indecent touching.

He would often warn his victims not to tell anyone what he had done. All three victims gave evidence in court during Crooks’ trial. He accused them of lying.

Sentencing, Judge Christopher Prince said: “Your offending has had a severely adverse impact upon all of their lives.

“The victims have to live with the results of the offences committed against them. Unfortunately for you, so do you. You were well aware your behaviour would bring great suffering.”

Crooks, of Kingston Avenue, Bearpark, County Durham, who also worked as a fruit and vegetable salesman, was convicted of five charges of rape and ten of indecent assault.

He was cleared of two indecent assault charges.

Dan Cordey, in mitigation, said: “These are extremely serious cases. These offences have clearly had a lasting impact on the victims.

“This defendant knows he faces today a lengthy custodial sentence.”

Crooks was sentenced to 18 years in prison, made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

Judge Prince praised the victims’ “personal strength, courage and integrity” in coming forward, attending court and giving evidence.