Manchester

Middleton scout leader jailed for sex abuse

David Ferron
Image caption Ferron formed a breakaway scout group

A former scout leader from Greater Manchester who called himself "The Colonel" has been jailed for 10 years for sexually abusing eight boys.

David Ferron, 62, of Mills Hill Road, Middleton, admitted more than 30 sexual offences including indecent assault and indecency with a child.

He abused boys at his scout base and on camping trips.

Judge Clement Goldstone QC, sitting at Manchester Crown Court, told him: "You are a depraved and perverted man."

Ferron admitted 20 counts of indecent assault, six counts of indecency with a child, one of attempted sexual assault, and six counts of possessing indecent photographs, at an earlier hearing.

'Predatory offending'

The abuse, which he often filmed or photographed, took place in the 1980s and 1990s on boys aged between seven and 15.

In 2001, he was convicted of taking indecent photographs of boys in the group as they slept. The victims of the sexual abuse came forward after that case.

Ferron was jailed for 12 months in 2001 but police found more indecent photographs on his computer when they searched his home following his latest arrest.

They also found evidence that he had opened three accounts on social-networking sites and posed as two 13-year-old boys and a 50-year-old youth counsellor.

Maurice Greene, prosecuting, said evidence from Ferron's victims showed "a pattern of systematic and clearly predatory offending".

Judge Goldstone said Ferron saw his position as "an opportunity to take advantage and to abuse no fewer than eight young and impressionable boys".

"You breached the total trust which they and their parents placed in you," he said.

"I am left in no doubt that, when you removed your group from the Scout movement, your opportunity for abuse increased and you took full advantage."

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