Former police chief Gordon Anglesea jailed for historical child sex offences

Gordon Anglesea arriving at Mold Crown Court today for sentencing. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A retired North Wales police chief has been jailed for 12 years for historical child sex offences.

Former Superintendent Gordon Anglesea, 79, was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault between 1982 and 1987 against two boys, both aged 14 or 15 at the time.

Anglesea had denied the charges, claiming he was a victim of a "conspiracy" and that the two complainants were seeking compensation.

But Mold Crown Court heard the father-of-five, from Colwyn Bay, had used his position and connections with authority to molest his two young victims.

He evaded justice for almost 30 years and at one point brought a libel case against several media organisations, winning damages of £375,000.

As Judge Geraint Walters passed sentence, Anglesea blinked and gulped hard before turning to his family seated in one part of the public gallery, who gave him a thumbs-up.

There were cheers and claps from other parts of the public gallery.

Judge Walters told Anglesea: "As a person whose obligation it was to uphold the law and protect the vulnerable, your offences against these two vulnerable boys grossly abused their trust placed in you.

"The consequences for them have been profound, indeed life-changing.

"Your conduct was but part of a miserable existence that created these two men. Theirs was an existence, not a living."

During a six-week trial, the jury heard Anglesea ran an attendance centre in Wrexham in the 1980s when he was a police inspector.

Teenage boys convicted of petty crime would be given a "short, sharp, shock" of military-style physical training, marches and parade sessions, along with woodwork classes on Saturday afternoons.

Anglesea would "inspect" the parade, make the youngsters do naked sit-ups and squat thrusts, then loiter around the showers "with a smirk on his face".

The jury heard it was here that three of the assaults took place, against one boy who was "last back to the showers" after a cross-country run.

The other victim said he was assaulted by Anglesea at a house in Mold, during which Anglesea called the boy "scum" and told him he had the "power to send him away".

A banner outside court today reads '37 years for justice: A bittersweet moment'. Credit: ITV News

Today, North Wales Police said it was "saddened" that Anglesea had exploited his position as an officer to carry out the abuse.

Chief Constable Mark Polin said: "Time has caught up with Gordon Anglesea and today’s sentence of 12 years reflects the serious abuse of authority and trust that he used to offend against vulnerable victims who should have been safe in his presence.

“It is true to say that no occupation is immune from individuals who will exploit their position of authority and trust to abuse vulnerable victims, but people expect and deserve better from the police. I am saddened that a former North Wales police officer was one of these individuals and I would like to apologise again on behalf of the force to those whose lives he so traumatically affected.”

Ed Beltrami, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wales, said: “The conclusion of this case is an important landmark both for Anglesea’s victims and for the investigation and prosecution teams.

"Anglesea’s sentencing is testament to the fortitude of those who came forward to report what they had experienced or seen."

Gordon Anglesea in police custody. Credit: National Crime Agency

Roy McComb, Natiional Crime Agency Deputy Director for Specialist Investigations, said: “Gordon Anglesea abused children who should have been safe in his presence and caused lasting damage that only his victims can truly know and understand.

“They have shared just some of that impact with the court during the trial. I believe the sentence of 12 years imposed by this court today reflects the serious abuse of trust that Gordon Anglesea perpetrated in order to facilitate his sexual offending.

“I would like to thank all those who had the trust and confidence in the NCA to come forward with information or evidence in this case.”

Gordon Anglesea continues to maintain his innocence and his defence team say they plan to appeal.