March 2004

Paedophile sentenced for child sexual assaults against schoolgirls

A man who was awarded the MBE for his work with young people was jailed at Guildford Crown Court for two-and-a-half years for sexually abusing schoolgirls more than 30 years ago.

Cyril Littlewood, 77, of Cranleigh, Surrey, carried out the assaults during field trips.

March 2004

Frail youth leader denies assaulting three schoolgirls

A children’s author raped and sexually assaulted schoolgirls during youth events that he organised, a jury was told yesterday.

Cyril Littlewood told a 16-year-old “at least it’s legal now” on her birthday after having allegedly raped her since she was 13

Littlewood, 77, had spent more than 40 years as an expert in wildlife, writing the Children’s Atlas of Endangered Animals and establishing youth clubs. He was appointed MBE in 2000.

However, the frail figure stood accused of raping one schoolgirl and indecently assaulting two others while they were members of the World Wildlife Fund Youth Service, which he established more than 30 years ago. A jury at Guildford Crown Court was told how Littlewood allegedly abused young teenagers in his office and at camps.

So keen was he to impress the schoolgirls that he consistently picked them out for favoured treatment, even introducing two of them to the late Sir Harry Secombe. Karen Holt, for the prosecution, said: “Over three years, the defendant consistently and persistently sexually abused these girls.

“With one of them, he actually had sexual intercourse at camps and also at the WYS offices in Wallington, Surrey, as well as in the bedroom of her parents’ home.”

The jury heard how married Littlewood, then in his 40s, first encountered the teenager he was alleged to have raped at a camp in the Yorkshire Dales. It was shortly after she joined the group in 1970. Although his wife, Diane, an instructor, was present, his attentions were on the girls.

When one of them suffered a hayfever attack he pounced, Mrs Holt added. However, throughout his relationship with her, the jury was told, Littlewood had also targeted two other young teenagers; one, the girl’s best friend, who was also a junior leader.

Littlewood, of Cranleigh, Surrey, denies five counts of rape against one girl and 15 counts of indecent assault against all three girls between 1970 and 1973.

The trial continues.