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Shamed Scout leader Simon Townsend gets a further two years

He abused a scout and police found 25,000 WhatsApp messages between them

Simon Karl Townsend
Simon Karl Townsend

A former Scout leader, who was jailed for three years last year for sexual abuse of a schoolgirl, has been sentenced to a further two years after another victim came forward.

Leeds Crown Court heard the additional offences involving her had pre-dated those for which Simon Karl Townsend was sentenced last July but only come to light earlier this year when the girl told her boyfriend what had happened years ago.

David Hall, prosecuting, said the girl was a scout and like his other victim, his grooming of her began with Townsend having a number of sexual conversations with her.

She was 14 on a scout activity when she became separated from others in her troop and Townsend then took the opportunity to kiss her on her lips “like a boyfriend.”

He subsequently undid the zip on her caving suit and put his hand down her top and felt her breast.

She described him trying to get her alone on other occasions when he would try to move her hand towards his groin but she would pull away from him.

He also asked her to send him naked photographs of her and she had sent some when she “was in a state of undress.” Some he had deleted but four were found on his phone which were Category C, the lowest level of indecent images.

It was also then discovered there had been 25,000 messages between them on WhatsApp “initiated by him and the vast majority of a sexual nature, conversations of the most intimate and sexual kind,” said Mr Hall.

His conduct towards that girl was interrupted by his arrest for offences against the other victim for which he was jailed last July.

After finally speaking up this year about his behaviour the victim said Townsend’s actions had made her feel insecure and had caused her sleepless nights.

Marianne Alton, representing Townsend, said he was ashamed and disgusted “at the person he was two years ago.”

He accepted that his attitude towards her was entirely wrong and unacceptable at a time when he going through a troubled personal life.

He was genuinely remorseful and had admitted the offences at the earliest opportunity. Since being sentenced last year he had taken part in the sex offender treatment programme and appreciated the impact of his behaviour.

Townsend, 33, then of Highfield Avenue, Meltham, admitted two charges of sexual activity with a child, arranging the commission of a child sexual offence, and possessing four indecent images.

Jailing him for two years to run consecutive to his current three year sentence, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said his behaviour towards that girl when he was a scout leader was a significant breach of trust.

“She is still suffering from what happened as a result of your criminal offending,” he said.

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