Former Chippenham soldier guilty of 'devastating' sex abuse deserved five-year jail sentence (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Man attacked two teenagers, one of 14
8:43am Wednesday 12th February 2014 in News
A former soldier who tore apart a teenager's life through repeated sex abuse deserved his five-year sentence, judges have ruled.
Chippenham man, James Robert Dargavel, who was once on the PTA at the John Bentley School in Calne, was jailed at Swindon Crown Court in June last year after he was convicted of indecently assaulting two teenagers.
Dargavel, now 70, attacked his first 14-year-old victim after inviting him and friends back to his flat for a drinking session, Mrs Justice Patterson told London's Appeal Court yesterday.
The horrified youngster woke to find that his friends had disappeared and that Dargavel was performing a sex act on him.
"He tried to resist, but Dargavel was far stronger and continued for some time before stopping," said the judge.
The boy said he had been subjected to similar acts of abuse on several other occasions.
He described how the attacks had "completely messed up his life," contributing to him giving up ambitions of going to college, instead becoming a heroin addict.
The boy's mother had given a moving description of her son's "mental devastation", said Mrs Justice Patterson.
Dargavel's second victim was exploited after being invited back to his flat for drinks, waking later to find that the older man had lowered his trousers and was groping him.
His victim - aged 17 or 18 - "kicked out at Dargavel" before fleeing from the flat and vomiting in the street.
Both victims were attacked by Dargavel during the 1990s, the court heard.
The case reached court as Dargavel, of Stockwood Road, Chippenham, challenged his sentence, claiming it was too long for his crimes.
His legal team claimed the judge had made too much of the traumatic impact of the offences on his victims. They also cited his good work record and former exemplary army career.
But Mrs Justice Patterson, sitting with Lord Justice Pitchford and Mr Justice Wilkie, said the judge had taken full account of all the mitigation available to Dargavel and there was nothing excessive or "wrong in principle" about the five-year term.