November 2013

Aldington ex-butcher Graham Cooper jailed after child sex shame exposed by Olympic torch glory

torch

A retired butcher has today been jailed for three years for child abuse dating back 30 years after his victim recognised him when he carried the Olympic torch.

Pervert Graham Cooper, 69, was brought to justice after being chosen to run a leg of the 2012 relay.

The retired Aldington butcher’s exploits came to the attention of a woman who recognised him as the man who had carried out sex attacks on her in the 1980s.

Now the businessman, who ran Cooper and Sons Butchers and Bakers in Aldington for many years, has been locked up at Canterbury Crown Court.

Judge Adele Williams told him today: “The victim was quite rightly incensed when she heard you had been chosen to be a torchbearer.

“Child sex abuse is a considerable evil and those who engage in it can expect nothing but imprisonment.

“What you did had long lasting effects on your victim.”

The judge also placed Cooper under a sexual offences prevention order and ordered he sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Cooper’s victim had tried to bring charges some years ago, but was told it was too late for him to be questioned about his attacks.

But last year, after discovering he had been selected to take part in the historic torch run to celebrate the London Olympics, she contacted the police again.

This time Cooper – who has now moved to Church Road, New Romney – confessed to three of his vile acts, while still trying to blame the young child for initiating the sex contact.

A jury convicted him of a fourth sex attack, but acquitted him on three others, including an alleged rape.

The victim had to give evidence in the five-day hearing and relive her 30-year nightmare.

The woman, who wept while giving evidence, told the court how in the years following the attacks she sought counselling and hypnotherapy to cope with her ordeal.

She said she lived in fear of “bumping into him” in the street, adding that she wondered if she would recognise him.

However, she was in the West Country reading about the Olympics when she discovered he had been nominated to take part in the relay.

She remembered: “I was thinking how could this happen? I looked things up on the internet. How could this person be chosen?

“This man abused me. I read on the internet about him and why he was nominated, his charity work, singing in a local choir, raising money for local projects.

“It said he was always cheerful. I read about him over and over again, about him going to the church and (thought) is he going there to repent or what?”

The former chairman of the Ashford Photographic Society said in his evidence: “I feel very sorry. I am shameful. It shouldn’t have happened. I have regretted it for 30 years.”

He claimed he stopped during one attack, saying: “That was my wake up moment. I suddenly thought: ‘What are you doing?’ Stop! I suddenly came to my senses and knew it was wrong.

“I have regretted it ever since. I am truly sorry and ashamed.”

October 2013

Paedophile Olympic torch bearer finally snared after 30 years when victim spotted him smiling and waving with flame on TV

Grandfather-of-four Graham Cooper, 69, is facing prison after the woman he abused when she was a child in the Eighties recognised him on television when he was taking part in the relay last year.

Cooper, a local butcher, was nominated to carry the torch in his home town of Aldington, Kent, by his wife as she was “immensely proud of him”.

The victim’s previous complaints had fallen on deaf ears, but after seeing her abuser take part in the historic torch rally, she contacted the police again.

Officers brought Cooper in for questioning and he admitted three of his vile acts. He was convicted by a jury at Canterbury Crown Court of a fourth charge on October 25.

Warning Cooper he will face jail, Judge Adele Williams said today: “The ordering of reports should not be taken as any indication that I am looking at anything other than an immediate prison sentence.” 

His brave victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, took to the witness stand and told the court she lived in fear of “bumping into” Cooper.

The woman, who wept while giving evidence, revealed she sought counselling and hypnotherapy to cope with her ordeal.

She said: “I was thinking how could this happen? I looked things up on the internet. How could this person be chosen? 

“This man abused me. I read on the internet about him and why he was nominated, his charity work, singing in a local choir, raising money for local projects.

“It said he was always cheerful. I read about him over and over again, about him going to the church and thought is he going there to repent or what?” 

Cooper claimed during his five-day trial that his young child victim initiated sexual contact.

But he admitted: “I feel very sorry. I am shameful. It shouldn’t have happened.

“I have regretted it for 30 years.” 

Cooper admitted two counts of indecent assault on a female under 14 and admitted one count of gross indecency with a female aged under 14.

The jury also found him guilty of an additional count of indecent assault at Canterbury Crown Court on October 25.

He was cleared of two further allegations of indecent assault on a female under 14 and found not guilty of the rape of a girl under the age of 16.

Speaking when he was chosen as a torch bearer, Cooper said: “It’s such an honour and a privilege to have been chosen, I’m really looking forward to it.

“I was brought up to do things to help people – that’s just how it is. I think it’s going to be unbelievable.” 

His wife Mrs Cooper said: “Throughout my married life, whenever anything’s needed doing for anyone, he’s done it, for their pleasure and benefit. I’m immensely proud of him.” 

The grandfather-of-four was one of 115 torchbearers from the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, who each ran 300-metre legs along the route. He ran carrying the number 55 on July 18, 2012.

Cooper was released on bail and will be sentenced on a date to be fixed later this month.