FORMER Cheltenham Cub Scout leader Clifford George has been jailed for sexually abusing children

January 16th, 2016

The 60-year-old was sent to prison for six years at Swansea Crown Court, but warned he would be liable to recall for a further three years. George now lives in Pontypool, South Wales, but is originally from Cheltenham.

He last lived in Welch Road in 2005 and was formerly a leader with the 49th Cheltenham (St Peter’s) Cubs between 1989 and 1990. Yesterday, its current leader confirmed that George had been involved with the pack and said he was naturally disappointed to learn about the case. Judge Keith Thomas said George had “cloaked himself in the veneer of respectability” to get close to children and then to dismiss their complaints until they fell on deaf ears.

The former Cheltenham security guard had been convicted after a trial of 21 offences, including indecent assault, indecency with a child, sexual assault of a child under the age of 13, sexual activity with a child and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child. The court heard how George first assaulted two girls under the age of 11 in the late 1970s and then a young boy. There was then a 24-year gap before he again turned his attentions to a boy in the west Wales area aged under 11.

This time, the complaints were taken seriously and police uncovered the earlier offending. George’s barrister, Janet Gedrych, said he still claimed to be innocent. As a result, a psychiatrist had difficulty in preparing a report giving his opinion as to whether George represented an ongoing danger to children. She said George now needed crutches or a wheelchair and suffered such ill health that he would never be able to carry out the acts he had as a younger man. Judge Thomas said he disagreed. There was a pattern of behaviour, he said, that persuaded him that George was still dangerous in the eyes of the law and there was a significant risk of George causing serious harm in the future.

An extended sentence was necessary, he added. After his release, George will be liable to be recalled to prison even without reoffending until early 2021. George was also ordered to register with the police as a sex offender and banned from working with children for life. lan Green, head of the 49th Cheltenham (St Peter’s) Cubs said yesterday that, as far as he knew, George had not been one of the main leaders.

Spokesman for the Scout Association, Chris Foster, said George had been a leader and added: “We are aware of court proceedings involving Clifford Ernest George relating to historical offences in the late 1970s and mid 1990s. “We can confirm that he was a member of the Scout movement for a short time between 1989 and 1990 but has not been a member for 23 years.

“We carry out stringent vetting of all adults who work with young people and require them to work to a strict code of practice outlined in the ‘Young People First’ Code of Practice.”