Keswick farmer jailed for 20 years for historic sex offences

Raymond Harrison was sentenced to 20 years in prison for historic sex offences Credit: Cumbria Police

A farmer who sexually abused two children after grooming them with sweets and cigarettes has been jailed for 20 years. 69-year-old Raymond Harrison from Keswick carried out the offences over a four-year period in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court today on 12 counts including rape, indecent assault and indecency with a child.

The offences, which were committed against two school girls in the Keswick area between 1979 and 1982, were reported to police in 2017. Harrison was found unanimously guilty on 11 counts, and by a majority on one count by a jury.

Detective Constable Mark Cox said:

“I am pleased that Raymond Harrison has been brought to justice for the abhorrent sexual abuse he subjected two children to over 40 years ago.

“Investigating such offences, which have occurred decades earlier, are challenging and this case was no different. Many potential witnesses are deceased and the passage of time also had an impact on the memory of victims and witnesses.  

“I have been a detective for some 16 years and this case is one of the more difficult cases I have worked on due the actions of Harrison. He claimed that both victims had made false accusations and subjected both to further trauma by taking this through a full criminal trial.

“Our investigation left no stone unturned and delved into various phone, social media, medical and counselling records to identify key dates to assist in the timeline of the investigation. The evidence collated has been carefully assessed by a jury who found Harrison guilty of these horrific offences.

“Both victims have been incredibly brave and courageous in reporting what happened to them and providing evidence throughout a lengthy investigation. Three years passed from their first disclosure to the conclusion of the criminal proceedings. Both women have been supported throughout by our officers and I hope that this sentencing provides some form of closure for them and their loved ones."

I hope that this sentence sends a clear message to the perpetrators that no matter how much time has passed, sexual abuse will not be tolerated by Cumbria Constabulary and we will do everything within our power to hold them accountable for their actions and bring them to justice.

Detective Constable Mark Cox

“No matter how much time has passed, support is available in Cumbria for victims of sexual offences. The Constabulary works closely with trusted partner agencies to provide the appropriate support which is tailored to an individual’s circumstances.

“I would encourage anyone who has been victim of a sexual offence to contact police so that our officers can investigate. You will be supported throughout our investigation.”

The courage shown by Harrison’s victims in speaking out cannot be understated and has ensured he has finally faced justice for his abhorrent crimes.

NSPCC spokesperson

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Sexual abuse can have a devastating effect on the life of a child which can last long into adulthood, and we hope both women can find some relief knowing Harrison has been held to account for these horrific offences. We would urge anyone who has experienced sexual abuse, no matter when it happened, to speak out and seek support.”

To report a crime, please call police on 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency. Further information on the support available for victims of sexual abuse is available on the Constabulary’s website.

If you have been affected by rape or sexual assault, contact The Bridgeway Sexual Assault Support Service’s 24/7 free helpline on 0808 118 6432.

Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111. Adults can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 8005000 or email