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Former Thatcham scout leader jailed for abusing young boy

Peter Swynford befriended his victim before indecently assaulting him

Dan Cooper

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Dan Cooper

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01635 886632

Former Thatcham scout leader jailed for abusing young boy

A FORMER Thatcham Scout leader has been jailed for indecently assaulting a young boy he befriended.

Peter Swynford had denied any unlawful conduct, admitting sexual contact with the victim, but denying it was without consent and that the victim was under 16.

However, following a seven day trial at Reading Crown Court, he was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault on a a boy under 16.

And on Friday, he was sentenced to four years in prison for one count of indecent assault and two years each for the other three counts (to be served concurrently). 

The jury heard that Swynford's friendship with the victim had developed after they took part in activities through the Thatcham Scouting Association and the Berkshire Scouting Association.

Swynford, a former scout leader, was arrested on September 17 2013. He was charged on April 8 with the offences which involve one victim and which took place in Reading between August 1991 and August 1994.

The 52-year-old, from Kenton Road, Earley, Wokingham, was also ordered to be registered on the Sex Offenders Register and a sexual harm prevention order has been made against him.

Investigating officer Det Con Helen Stone, from Reading Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said: “This was a difficult and complex case dating back more than two decades.

“I commend the victim for his bravery in coming forward and continuing with this case until its conclusion. I am pleased for him and his family that Swynford faced justice after such a long wait. I hope this sentence will give Swynford time to reflect on the reality of what he did and how that affected the victim.”

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This case involved sexual activity between a man, now aged 52, and a boy in Reading in the early nineties.

“Peter Swynford took advantage of his status as a scout leader to prey on the young boy, ply him with pornography, alcohol and drugs and then abuse him for his own sexual gratification.It is only due to the great courage of the victim, and his feeling of duty to protect others, that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed. I would like to pay tribute to the victim for his strength, tenacity and selflessness in coming forward.

“Swynford denied any unlawful conduct, admitting sexual contact with the victim, but denying it was without consent and that the victim was under 16. However, on 8 March 2016, at Reading Crown Court, he was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault on a male.

“The convictions and today’s sentence serves as an important message to people who have been the victim of crimes such as these, or those who know such crimes are being committed, that they should come forward and that time is no barrier to justice.The CPS will work closely with partners, as we did with Thames Valley Police in this case, to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

“The emotional impact, on the victim and his family, of the abhorrent actions of this man is impossible to quantify.I hope that the convictions and sentence gives some small comfort to them. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time.”

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