Businessman and ex-scout leader from West Yorkshire gets life for ‘wicked’ sexual abuse of boys

The man was caught on CCTV
The man was caught on CCTV

A businessman who used his wealth and position in the community to systematically sexually abuse boys over a period of six decades has been handed a life sentence.

Philip Longbottom, 67, from Shipley, West Yorkshire, will serve a minimum of seven years in jail after pleading guilty to more than 40 serious sexual offences at Bradford Crown Court.

The father of three and former scout leader invited victims to his home or took them on foreign holidays, camping and swimming trips, often giving them and their parents money or expensive gifts.

He bought one boy an expensive car for his 17th birthday and often supplied boys with alcohol and drugs at parties at his house.

Longbottom, who was also involved with a CB radio club, the church boys’ brigade and the sea cadets, abused 12 boys and teenagers between the ages of seven and 19 between 1968 and 1996, with a further offence in 2010.

Judge Jonathan Rose described his offending as “wicked”.

He said: “You systematically sought out boys and young men as your prey, your facade as a family man and pillar of the community obscuring that you were a dangerous sexual predator.

“You took advantage of young boys.”

He added: “Your offending was wicked and the harm you have caused is long-lasting, if not everlasting.

“It is regrettable it has taken so many years for you to admit your offending. I have no doubt your victims have suffered greatly.”

The judge continued: “The offending by you took place on a virtually continuous basis. You were able to offend with such ease because of your wealth and involvement with community organisations.”

Many victims were present at Bradford Crown Court to see Longbottom’s sentencing.

Crowded into the jury box and public gallery, they listened as the details of the defendant’s offending were read to the court.

At one point, one victim shouted: “Don’t shake your head” as prosecutor Kate Batty described his ordeal.

Two victims entered the witness box to read their victim personal statements, with one addressing his words directly to the defendant in the dock.

Grey-haired Longbottom sat with his head bowed and hands clasped throughout the hearing. He wore glasses, a light-coloured sweatshirt and trousers and had a string of rosary beads around his neck.

He was given concurrent life sentences, with a minimum term of seven years, for 16 offences of rape and buggery against six victims.

He also received four years for 21 counts of indecent assault, four years for a count of assault with intent to commit buggery and 16 months for four counts of indecency with a child. The sentences will run alongside the life sentence.