Jail sentence for Scarborough publican Tony Burnard, who sexually assaulted a girl
A former Scarborough councillor and well-known publican has been jailed for 20 months for sexually assaulting a young girl.
Anthony Burnard, known as Tony, appeared for sentence on Monday after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a girl under 13 years of age.
Burnard, 79, the former chairman of Scarborough Football Club and also renowned for his charitable works when he was landlord at the Trafalgar Hotel in Scarborough, sexually assaulted the girl after luring her into bed, York Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Matthew Collins said the ex-Scarborough borough and county councillor touched the youngster on an intimate part of her body after pulling her trousers down at a property in Scarborough.
Burnard – who appeared for sentence via video link from Doncaster Crown Court because of his mobility issues – had denied pulling the girl’s trousers down and claimed to have touched the girl accidentally above her clothes, in June last year.
He entered his guilty plea on this basis, but this was dismissed by judge Simon Hickey following a ‘trial of issue’ in December.
Mr Hickey said he had “no hesitation” in finding that Burnard had pulled the victim’s trousers down before sexually assaulting her.
The court heard that the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, left the room crying following the assault.
At the adjourned sentence hearing on Monday morning, Burnard’s barrister Rob Stephenson cited glowing character references attesting to his client’s reputation in Scarborough.
Burnard’s brother, the Reverend Clive Burnard, said in a statement that he and his family had “feelings of shame” for his older brother’s actions.
The former councillor was someone the clergyman and his family had “respected and looked up to”.
Burnard, of Cromwell Terrace, was a “positive local businessman employing many of the local community… (and) someone who has raised significant amounts for his charitable causes”.
He had led a hitherto-blameless life, but there had been a “downturn” in his life following the death of his wife Joan – described as his “partner in love and business” – and he began to drink more.
His increased drinking and serious ill health had contributed to Burnard committing the sexual offences, the court heard.
Burnard, who now uses a wheelchair, suffered from several long-standing health issues including heart disease, diabetes, serious back problems and glaucoma. He had undergone numerous operations and was on daily medication.
“Custody would be extremely difficult for someone of Mr Burnard’s ill health,” said Mr Stephenson.
“He’s lost his good character; people will look at him in a different light as a result, which is also a great punishment in his late stage of life.”
Burnard, who had worked in the licensed trade for over 50 years before his retirement, said during the trial of issue: “I’m sorry (for) whatever has happened. I’ve been misconstrued. In all sincerity, whatever I did, I didn’t mean to do it. It was taken out of context by (the police) and everybody else.”
But judge Mr Hickey said Burnard had sexually assaulted an “extremely young” girl and that there was “clear evidence” that he had pulled her trousers down before doing so.
“I take the view that…. you took the opportunity to abuse her,” added Mr Hickey.
Burnard will serve half of the 20-month jail sentence behind bars before being released on parole. He was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years.
Ex-Scarborough publican to be sentenced after admitting sexually assaulting young girl
A well-known former Scarborough publican who sexually assaulted a young girl will appear in court next week, and faces a jail sentence.
Anthony Burnard, 79, better known as Tony, has admitted sexually assaulting the youngster at a property in Scarborough.
He will be sentenced on Monday 7 January by a judge at York Crown Court, although Burnard himself will appear by video link.
Burnard, who was renowned for his charity works when he was landlord at The Trafalgar Hotel, appeared at York Crown Court in early December for a Newton hearing, or trial of issue, where a judge heard fresh evidence about the offence to determine exactly what happened on the night in question.
The retired pub landlord had pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting a girl under 13 years of age at a previous hearing, but the case was adjourned for the trial of issue, the result of which would determine the severity of sentence faced by the pensioner.
Burnard, who has serious health problems, admitted he had sexually touched the child but above her clothes. The victim insisted he had touched her on an intimate part of her body after pulling her trousers down.
At the December hearing Burnard was in a wheelchair flanked by friends and family. He was not able to sit in the dock because of his mobility problems and instead sat in his wheelchair beside a dock officer.
Burnard, of Trafalgar Street West, had urged the girl to get into bed with him and told her: “Come here and lie next to me.”
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she did as she was asked and then Burnard touched her on an intimate area.
Burnard claimed he had just patted the girl on her belly and must have accidentally touched her on an intimate area.
Asked if he had pulled the girl’s trousers down before sexually assaulting her, he said: “No, definitely not.”
He admitted that the child’s trousers were down when she got out of the bed but claimed he didn’t know how this was so.
He added: “I’m sorry (for) whatever has happened. I’ve been misconstrued. In all sincerity, whatever I did, I didn’t mean to do it. It was taken out of context by (the police) and everybody else.”
He told the court he had been in the licensed trade for 52 years before his retirement. He said he had been recently plagued by chronic ill health after breaking his back twice and had undergone surgery after suffering an aortic aneurism.
Judge Simon Hickey said it was noteworthy that Burnard, at 79 years of age, had never previously been convicted of any offences, but added that the evidence pointed incontrovertibly to the fact that Burnard must have pulled the girl’s trousers down before sexually assaulting her.
The judge said he had “no hesitation” in finding that this was the case and told Burnard he would be sentenced on that basis.
He adjourned sentence to January 7 and granted Burnard bail until then. Burnard will appear via video link from Doncaster Crown Court which has the requisite disabled facilities for his needs.