Father and son child rapists brought to justice decades after they sexually assaulted young girls

Credit: Media Wales

Father and son child rapists have been brought to justice decades after they sexually abused and assaulted young girls.One of the victims of 73-year-old Arthur William Bowditch was aged just three when he raped her, leaving her so badly injured she required surgery.

Bowditch's son, Arthur Stephen Bowditch now aged 54, grew up to also be a sex offender and a child rapist, but there is no evidence they offended together.The men appeared in the dock at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing having both previously been convicted of multiple counts of rape and indecent assault of girls in the 1980s and 1990s.

Judge Huw Rees said the defendants' victims had been "denied a childhood" by their actions. Credit: PA

The court heard statements from the victims of the Bowditches in which they detailed the emotional, psychological, and physical effects of their abuse including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and attempts at suicide.

One said she had been a victim but now she was a survivor, and facing her abuser was her way of taking back control of her life. Another said the "degrading" things done to her as a girl had taken away her childhood but that she had forgiven her abuser so she could forget, let go of her hate, and not let the defendant "take any more of my life". Arthur William Bowditch, now of Selby Crescent, Swindon, Wiltshire, and Arthur Stephen Bowditch, now of Morse Close, Chippenham, Wiltshire, had previously been convicted at trial when they appeared together in the dock. Bowditch's son has a previous conviction from 1989 for indecent assaults of a girl under 14.An earlier sentencing hearing had to be adjourned after Bowditch Senior failed to turn up even though his wife had dropped him off at Swindon railway station that morning.

Detectives familiar with the case were sent to Swansea station to check CCTV, and the court heard no trace of the defendant could be found nor there was no evidence he had been on the train he was supposed to have caught.

The delayed sentencing hearing was told Bowditch had in fact got on the wrong train at Swindon and instead of travelling to Swansea had arrived in Bristol where he had "engaged with people on the street" before falling into the harbour. He then returned home where he was arrested early the following morning by Wilshire Police and taken into custody.Judge Huw Rees said the defendants' victims had been "denied a childhood" by their actions, and he said the statements from the women had been "harrowing" to listen to. He said it was clear the abuse inflicted by the defendants had profoundly affected the women.

The judge said William Bowditch had acted out of "degenerate and unhealthy sexual lust".William Bowditch was given a 21-year extended sentence comprising 20 years in custody followed by a one-year extended licence. Stephen Bowditch was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Both will be registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives.