Norfolk war veteran jailed for sex offences

PUBLISHED: 12:32 02 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:32 02 May 2014

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An 88-year-old war veteran has been jailed for two years for historic sex abuse charges on two young girls following a trial at Norwich Crown Court

An 88-year-old war veteran said by a judge to be one of the oldest defendants to come before the courts, has been jailed for two years for historic sex offences.

Gordon Cracknell, who served in the Home Guard in the Second World War, of School Road, Foulden, near Thetford, was convicted of five counts of historic sex abuse on the two girls who were aged under 13, following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.

The trial heard how he groomed the girls by giving them sweets and money and also kept donkeys, which acted as a draw for children to visit him.

The offences were committed in late 1980s early 1990s and one of the victims was about 10 or 11 at the time.

Jailing the frail pensioner for two years, Judge Stephen Holt said he took into account the age of the defendant, who has a number of health problems.

He told him: “You must be one of the oldest to come before the crown court to be sentenced for this sort of thing.”

He said the offences were historic and he had used “classic grooming” methods on his victims offering them sweets and small amounts of money.

“There was also donkeys which you kept and this was obviously an attraction to children.”

He accepted that Cracknell suffered from a number of conditions and also had depression.

He also placed him on the sex offenders register and made him subject to a sexual offences prevention order.

Andrew Oliver, for Cracknell, said he was of low risk of re-offending.

“He is 88 and never been in trouble before. He will find a custodial sentence far harder than others as he is in the twilight of his life.”

Mr Oliver said that because of the conviction Cracknell faced losing his home where he had lived for the past 60 years.

He said that Cracknell had served in the Home Guard during the war and had a number of health problems.

He urged that any sentence should be kept as short as possible.

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