A man who sexually abused two girls in the 1970s has been jailed for nine years following an investigation by Surrey Police’s Complex Abuse Unit.
George Wanless was found guilty following a trial of systematically abusing the two girls between 1974 and 1976 when he lived at Headley Court near Leatherhead.
The 69-year-old of Belmont Avenue, Oldham was found guilty of eight counts of indecent assault relating to the two victims. He was also found not guilty of rape, buggery and the jury failed to reach a verdict on a separate buggery charge.
This case demonstrates that it is never too late to report an incident of sexual assault. One of the victims has spoken out about how the actions of Wanless have affected her life and how she agonised over whether to raise this after so many years.
She said: “It has not been an easy decision to bring this matter to the attention of the police and the criminal justice system. I have agonised over whether it was fair to raise this after so many years and I have asked myself whether it is simply a case of changing sexual morals and boundaries over time. However the reality is that the law today regards sexual acts with children as abhorrent and wrong and so it did in the 1970s. Mr Wanless broke the law when he assaulted me, as he would do if he did the same today. Sexual acts with children are wrong because they cause intolerable harm to the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Tom Gilbert said: “George Wanless was quite simply a sexual predator who took advantage of his victims due to their vulnerable age at the time of the offending.
“The investigation started back in 2014, more than 40 years after the offences took place, which is an incredibly brave step for a victim to take after such a long time.
“I hope that the conviction will give any other victims of non-recent offences the confidence to come forward in the knowledge that we have a specialist team of officers here to support you.”
If you are the victim of an offence, or you suspect anyone of committing offences like the ones mentioned here, call us on 101 (always 999 in an emergency).
Support and advice is also available from the NSPCC via www.nspcc.org.uk or their helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Message Sent By Jo Jarlett (Surrey Police, Comms Officer, Corp Comms)