Man jailed for historic sexual abuse of children

Bruce Cook was sentenced to six years in prison'Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Bruce Cook was sentenced to six years in prison'Picture: Eddie Mitchell

A MAN has been jailed for six years for sexually abusing a young boy and girl in the 1970s.

Bruce Cook, 71, of Lovett Court, Maybridge Square, Goring, was found guilty at Chichester Crown Court on Friday, following a week-long trial, of nine counts, including indecent assault of a male person, indecency with a child, attempted buggery and indecent assault.

Both children were abused at a home in Goring, between May, 1973, and September, 1978. The boy was abused multiple times between the age of eight and 12 and the girl was abused on one occasion.

Recorder Stephen Smyth told the court: “You not only robbed this boy of his childhood but also of his life.

“You were in a position of trust. Had this been reported at the time, you would have been more robust and easily able to serve a sentence. Now, at 71, having had a stroke and being in a wheelchair, it will be much more difficult for you and those that have to look after you. Accordingly, I have sentenced at the very bottom of the range. If it wasn’t for your age and your physical difficulties, the sentence would have been much longer.”

The male victim is now 48 and said he finally decided to tell police following the Jimmy Saville sex abuse scandal.

Following the trial, he said: “You see it in the news all the time. When it’s happened to you, you put it in the back of your mind. It was always there. It was there every day. All these people are coming out the woodwork now he’s (Saville) dead and I thought I’m not going to start pointing the finger when he’s (Cook) dead.

“I couldn’t live with myself regretting not saying anything before. I thought it’s either now or never.

“I want the people who thought he was a great guy to know he wasn’t. I’m still trying to take it in. I haven’t slept over the last couple of days. I’ve been pretty emotional since. I didn’t think this day would come.

“I’ve lived with so long now I’m hardened to it. I’ve cried many a night about what’s happened.”

The court heard how the victim had previously confronted Cook, in later life, about the abuse on two occasions – both of which ended in violence.

Gabby Henty, prosecuting, said the world of the seventies was a very different place from the world we live in today, with child abuse rarely mentioned in the media. She said the victim was tormented by his demons and had gone ‘off the rails’ as a young man.