June 2002

Eight years for sex fiend, 54

A 54-year-old man who preyed on children has been jailed for eight years for a series of sex attacks on two young girls.

Peter Garwood, of Burley-in-Wharfedale, had denied 13 charges of indecent assault and one of attempted serious sexual assault, but was found guilty by a jury at Bradford Crown Court in May.

He was sentenced yesterday by Judge Roger Scott who called him a “worrying character” and a bully who had preyed on young children.

The offences took place during January 1975 and June 1984.

Ben Crosland, mitigating for Garwood, of North View, said he was of previous good character and that there had been a long delay before the offences were reported to the police.

“He showed a willingness to return from France where he was living and at no stage did he make things difficult, though he could have.”

Mr Crosland said that facts about his conviction had become known and he had been assaulted while on remand. “His first taste of custody has been extremely difficult for him and he has already contemplated suicide.”

Judge Roger Scott, who warned Garwood he should expect a long sentence, said: “I said to the jury that either it was crocodile tears on behalf of the children – or grown-ups, as they are now – or it was true and they were shredding their souls in front of the jury.

“My view is that we were witnessing those young women shredding their souls, and that will live with them for a long time.”

He said Garwood, who has been married three times, had a high risk of committing further offences.

He told him: “You are a worrying character. The nicest way of putting it is that you were Victorian in attitude. You were a bully and you were preying on young children.”

Garwood was sentenced for four years for seven counts and a further four years for the seven other counts, to run consecutively.

He was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

After the case Detective Constable Heidi Dowson, of the Child Protection Unit, said she was pleased with the sentence and praised the brave family for coming forward.

“I am absolutely delighted – and I am very proud of the family, who had the courage to come this far.

“They have suffered horrific abuse but today’s sentence sends a clear message that no matter how long ago the abuse was, sex offenders will not get away with it.”