Nidderdale man jailed for historical sexual abuse

John Michael Kendrew. Image: North Yorkshire Police (s).
John Michael Kendrew. Image: North Yorkshire Police (s).
  • John Michael Kendrew jailed for 10 years
  • Sentenced at York Crown Court

A 72-year-old former Merchant Navy seaman has been jailed for 10 years after being found guilty of a series of sex attacks on teenage boys more than 30 years ago.

John Michael Kendrew, of Galphay, preyed on two teenage boys when he was in his mid-30s and living in Pateley Bridge.

You enjoyed a reputation as something of a character in the Pateley Bridge area and you were well known because of your motorbike activities and the like, but today it is revealed that you are someone with a past.

Judge Stephen Ashurst

The former travelling salesman’s crimes went undetected for years but came to light when the two victims, now middle-aged, made separate allegations against him.

York Crown Court heard that Kendrew’s sexual abuse of the victims – neither of whom can be named for legal reasons – had resulted in them both suffering severe psychological trauma in their adult years.

Both boys were under the age of consent while being groomed by Kendrew.

Kendrew was arrested in January last year after the victims plucked up the courage to report his crimes, which happened in the 1980s.

He was charged with seven counts of indecent assault, five counts of gross indecency and one count of buggery between 1982 and 1985.

Prosecutor Gerald Hendron said Kendrew – who is married with a family – would drive the boys to isolated spots such as Silver Hill, near Pateley Bridge, where he would park up in quiet lanes and persuade them to look at pornographic magazines, before sexually assaulting them and getting them to perform lewd acts on themselves.

He also lured them to his home where he abused them while his wife was out.

Following his arrest on January 20, 2014, he claimed the allegations were pure “fabrication and fantasy”.

But at his trial at York Crown last month a jury found him guilty on all 13 counts.

Kendrew appeared for sentence on Friday, when Mr Hendron read out a statement from one of the victims who said the abuse had made his life a “living nightmare”.

Defence barrister John Greig said that since Kendrew had been remanded in prison awaiting sentence, his wife had had to leave their home and move into a smaller property because of financial difficulties resulting from her husband’s incarceration.

Jailing Kendrew for 10 years, Judge Stephen Ashurst told him: “You enjoyed a reputation as something of a character in the Pateley Bridge area and you were well known because of your motorbike activities and the like, but today it is revealed that you are someone with a past, and a past which involves the serious abuse of two teenage boys.

“What you did to these boys has had an enormous impact on them as grown men.

“You groomed them over a period of time by introducing them, in your car, to pornography.

“You told both these boys not to say anything, that they wouldn’t be believed. It’s affected them deeply and affected their health.

“In the intervening years, you have had the benefits of enjoying your liberty and your reputation in town. All that is now tarnished and you are going to have to live your later years in disgrace.”

As well as the jail sentence, the prosecution asked Mr Ashurst to make a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to impose further restrictions on Kendrew including a ban on him having anyone under the age of 16 at his home.

Mr Ashurst said the best time to consider such an order would be when Kendrew is released from prison.

However, he made an immediate order under the Sex Offenders Act, which requires Kendrew to notify the authorities about any change in his circumstances for the rest of his life.

The judge told Kendrew: “I’ve come to the conclusion that you are a somewhat arrogant and selfish man, and you only have yourself to blame.”