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Friday, 24 March, 2000, 15:01 GMT
Pensioner put on sex offender list

An 83-year-old paedophile is to be placed on the sex offenders' register more than 20 years after committing a catalogue of offences against children.

George Platt was described by a judge of having "destroyed the childhoods" of five young people aged 11 and 14 who attended his eight-acre stud farm near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, for riding lessons.

The offences only came to light after one of the victims told a relative she was forced to have sex over a three-year period.

The 41-year-old mother of four now lives in the south of England.



These were destroyed childhoods that nothing could ever restore

Judge Geoffrey Kamil
Police conducted a two-year investigation but Platt denied the allegations during police interviews.

When the case came up at Bradford Crown Court a jury decided that Platt, who now suffers from Alzheimer's disease, was unfit to plead.

But in a rare move, a trial of fact was held, and a separate jury decided he had committed the offences of which he was accused - six counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, two of indecency with a child, five indecent assaults, one indecent assault against a male, and one offence of buggery.

The court heard the behaviour of Platt, now of Honley, Huddersfield, was encouraged by his wife Anne.

The couple, "cloaked in their respectability, kindness and generosity", corrupted youngsters between 1969 and the mid-1970s.

"Chilling"

Judge Geoffrey Kamil made a guardianship order on Platt, which means he will be supervised by the local authority.

The judge said what had occurred was "quite chilling".

Platt had probably thought he was "safe after all these years", he added.

He went on: "These young people were used and abused by you regularly.

"These were destroyed childhoods that nothing could ever restore.



These young people were used and abused by you regularly

Judge Geoffrey Kamil
"You were a powerful, upright man of the community driving around in a Rolls Bentley, an apparent pillar of society.

"Had you not been found to have a disability I would have no hesitation in passing a sentence that would have ensured you spent what years you have got left in prison."

Soon after being questioned by detectives he took an overdose of paracetamol and alcohol, but was found by his wife and survived.

Anne Platt, 62, was originally charged with aiding and abetting her husband to commit 13 offences.

The charges were left on the file after it was decided that the prosecution should not go ahead as she would not be able to get a fair trial.

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