Leeds & West Yorkshire

Shipley scout leader jailed for decades of abuse

Philip Longbottom Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Philip Longbottom, 66, pleaded guilty to 44 offences including rape and sexual assault

A scout leader who groomed, raped and abused 12 boys over the course of six decades has been given a life sentence.

Philip Longbottom, 67, assaulted boys as young as nine at his home and on camping expeditions before bribing or threatening them to keep quiet.

Police said that beneath his "wealth and influence" lay a "sinister side".

Longbottom, who admitted 43 offences including rape and sexual assault, was told he must serve at least seven years by a Bradford Crown Court judge.

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Longbottom was a wealthy textile businessman as well as a scout leader, member of the sea cadets and member of a local CB Radio club.

'Awful memories'

Passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Rose spoke about the impact on Longbottom's offending had had on his victims.

"Each harbours awful memories, many have endured terrible physical pain, all have suffered profoundly in a psychological sense," he said.

"Not one of them has been left undamaged by your actions."

One victim directly addressed Longbottom in court, and told him: "My life ended the day he started abusing me."

'Psychologically damaging abuse'

Ch Insp Phillip Bates said it was Longbottom's "elevated position" which granted him access to his victims.

"He was seen as a respectable member of the community," he said

"He was a man of wealth and influence and would use this to befriend families and gain access to children, who were then subjected to the most degrading and psychologically damaging abuse, offering them bribes and threats to guarantee their silence."

Longbottom, whose offending took place between 1969 and 2010, was first arrested in 2015 when two brothers came forward to say they had been abused when they lived in Bradford.

Police, however, believe Longbottom carried out assaults on boys across the north of England, in Scotland and, possibly, in mainland Europe.

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