A MAN has been jailed for groping a young girl and indecently assaulting another in the 1970s and 1990s.
Martin Coulson was found guilty of six offences following a trial and was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court earlier this week.
The 70-year-old, who has an OBE and held the rank of colonel in the Territorial Army, was described as ‘opportunistic’ when carrying out his crimes against the victims who were aged between five and 13 at the time of abuse.
The court heard Coulson assaulted the girls in Gosport on separate occasions.
When one of his victims came forward about the abuse, it encouraged the other to also report what happened to her.
Coulson, of Highbury Road, Weston-Super-Mare, had denied the seven charges of indecently assaulting a child under the age of 14. Jurors found him guilty of six offences relating to specific incidents but he was acquitted of a seventh charge of multiple occasions of abuse.
During sentencing Recorder James Waddington QC said: ‘You are a man of an otherwise impeccable character who has been convicted by a jury of six offences of indecent assault.
‘You are a husband, father and had a successful career.
‘However, I have to sentence you now for the various offences which reflect specific incidents of indecent assault against two victims.
‘In 2015, one of your victims made complaints about your conduct towards her when she was a child.
‘The other victim then also made complaints about abuse at your hands which had taken place.’
He added the abuse had been carried our over a considerable amount of time but accepted it was ‘to an extent opportunistic’.
‘I accept you did not put pressure on the victims to keep it from anyone but hoped they were too young to understand what had happened and do anything about it,’ Recorder Waddington said.
‘I take into account the very long period of time between the offences and the current day. Of course during that time the victims have been suffering.
‘However it is the case that you have done nothing of a criminal nature, let along this type of crime, since.’
Recorder Waddington read out a statement from one of the victims which said the abuse had ‘traumatic consequences’ on her life.
Coulson was sentenced to three years in prison for two of the offences, two years for one of the offences, 18 months for a further two and a year for the final offence.
They are all to run concurrently so he will serve three years – part in custody and part on licence.