15 years in jail for paedophile scout leader

A FORMER Somerset scout leader has this morning (Fri) been jailed for 15 years for a string of sexual offences against children spanning two decades.

David Burland, of Ramsay Way in Burnham, was found guilty of 33 different offences against three young boys and one girl.

The 54-year-old had denied the charges and claimed the accusations were the result of ‘a conspiracy’ against him.

However, jurors rejected his claim, and he was found guilty of all charges at Taunton Crown Court.

Judge Graham Hume Jones has this morning ordered him to serve 15 years behind bars, of which he is likely to serve half, with an extended licence period to run until he reaches the age of 75.

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The ruling comes after the court heard him described as ‘a sexual predator, someone who abuses youngsters for their own sexual gratification’.

The judge said: “Not only was he in a position of trust, in that position he was highly regarded in the community and became friends with the families.

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“The parents of those children therefore committed their children to the defendant’s care, confident they would be safe, over many years.”

Following the verdict, Detective Constable Mark Fudge, of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, said: “David Burland abused his position as a Scout master to groom and abuse children in his care.

“He hid behind his role as a scoutmaster and hoped people would not report him.

“Someone did report his inappropriate behaviour and an investigation was quickly launched.

“This uncovered other victims and I applaud them all for the strength it must have taken to come forward. This demonstrates that we take all allegations of abuse seriously and will explore them thoroughly.”

A spokesman for the Scout Association said: “The Scout Association condemns the actions of Burland.

“Burland was suspended from any form of contact with the movement as soon as police began their investigations and he has not been involved with the movement since his arrest.

“We can confirm that he will never again be allowed to work within the scout movement.”

Burland was also barred from working with children and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.

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