January 2007

Councillor molested young girls

A councillor been sent to jail for five years after molesting two 11-year-old girls while he was a school governor.

Bob Hargreaves, 62, who was elected to Bradford Metropolitan District Council in 2004, was given five years in jail.

Bradford Crown Court convicted Hargreaves of eight charges of molesting two 11-year-old girls, including one of attempted rape.

During a ten-day trial, Bradford Crown Court heard how Hargreaves, 62, a former school governor, molested the girls in the back of a butcher’s shop in the early 1990s and would give the girls £3 after touching them.

The court was told that the abuse started when Hargreaves, of Buttermere Road, Bolton, Bradford, made one of the girls, who were both then aged about 11, perform a sex act on him. He paid her £3 and told her not to tell anybody.

Prosecutor Sharon Beattie said the next time this happened Hargreaves indecently assaulted her. Miss Beattie told the jury that the abuse continued and Hargreaves started saying to her “Next time we will go a bit further on to better things”.

The girl brought a friend with her because she was scared that Hargreaves would try to have sex with her, but Hargreaves then began abusing the second girl as well and gave them money.

The court was told that the abuse came to an end when Hargreaves tried to rape the first girl. He had put £20 down and said to the girls Who’s going to be first?’.

Hargreaves was questioned by police in 1994 when similar allegations were made against him. Although he was prosecuted, the case never went to trial. Hargreaves denied the allegations and claimed the first girl was blackmailing him.

Hargreaves, who represents Bolton and Undercliffe for the Liberal Democrats, will now lose his place on the council.

All the attacks took place in the 1990s, while he was a school governor.

Sex offenders’ register

The 10-day trial heard how Hargreaves had given the girls money if they allowed him to touch them – and told one that she would not be believed if she tried to tell anyone.

The abuse only ended when Hargreaves tried to rape one of the youngsters.

He will now be on the sex offenders’ register for life.

His lawyer said he would be appealing against the sentence.

The victims, who cannot be named, said they did not believe their abuser had received a tough enough punishment.