Retired Village Bobby Jailed For Abusing Boys

A retired police officer has been jailed for seven years for sexually abusing boys when he was a village bobby.

Judge Andrew Barnett told "pillar of the community'' Gordon Hunter he was "a disgrace to the uniform he once wore'' for attacking the two adolescent boys in the 1980s and 1990s.

Married Hunter, 64, befriended the victims and starting touching them before moving on to more serious sexual acts.

The offences with the first victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, started when he was a village policeman in Whitchurch, Hampshire.

The man, now in his 30s, said that Hunter had kissed him as he gave him a lift home in his police car and once put his wedding ring on his finger as a token of his feelings towards him.

The second victim, also now in his 30s, was assaulted when Hunter moved to Ashurst in the New Forest, the court heard.

Hunter from Dene Way, Ashurst, denied all 14 charges, including gross indecency with a child and indecent assault, but was found guilty by a jury.

Winchester Crown Court heard that one man came forward after seeing Hunter's final retirement from Hampshire Police announced on a social networking site last year. Hunter had stopped being a police officer in 2002, but stayed on in support roles with the Hampshire force.

One victim said in a statement, that the abuse had left him with "severe psychological damage'' and feelings of pain and dirtiness.

Judge Barnett called Hunter's actions "disgraceful and despicable''.

"You are a disgrace to the uniform you once wore,'' he told him.

"Both these young men trusted you as a pillar of the community, someone they felt they could rely upon.

"It was a gross abuse of trust. By a large extent, you used your position to gain access to these boys.

"The fact of who you were dissuaded an earlier detection of these matters.''

The judge added that the time in prison would allow him to "contemplate the havoc, misery, distress and possibly the destruction of those lives''.

In mitigation, Stephen Parish said Hunter did not accept his guilt.

He told the court that while in Winchester prison awaiting sentence, Hunter had been subject to shouting and abuse because of his crimes and former job and he had been transferred to the hospital wing.

Judge Barnett ordered that Hunter be put on the sexual offences register indefinitely and he also imposed a ban on him having unsupervised access to, or working with, children.