HMA v Gary Lee Goodrum

At the High Court in Aberdeen today, 12 April 2018, Lord Woolman sentenced Gary Goodrum to nine years imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of sexually abusing eight teenage girls. On sentencing Lord Woolman made the following statement in court:

“Between 1999 and 2016 you carried out a systematic campaign of sexual abuse against eight under-age girls.

 I call it a campaign, because your conduct followed a distinct pattern over those 17 years. Each victim was a pupil at your martial arts academy. Each of them was in some way vulnerable. They either had problems at home, or were lacking in confidence, or otherwise had difficult personal circumstances.

 You befriended them, gained their trust and then abused them. Accordingly, your behaviour involved both a degree of targeting, grooming and the abuse of a position of trust. You committed the offences when you were aged between 20 and 37. The victims were 14 and 15.

 It was clear as they gave their evidence that the victims found uncovering their memories painful and upsetting. I have since seen victim impact statements. One states that having to relive these events ‘was like an explosion hit’ her life. One says that she will never ‘fully recover from those feelings of uncleanliness, betrayal, confusion and fear’. Two state that your conduct led to them self-harming.

 I take into account everything said in mitigation. In particular I have regard to three factors. First, you have no prior convictions. Secondly, you only present a moderate or medium risk of sexual re-offending. Third, you have the support of your immediate family. I have carefully read the letters written by your wife and father.

 Set against that, however, is your denial that you committed any of the crimes. You impute base motives to the victims for giving evidence against you.

 The number and seriousness of the crimes means that only a lengthy custodial sentence is appropriate. Further, the sentence must properly reflect both your high degree of culpability and the significant harm that you have caused.

 Exercising what leniency I can, I shall impose one sentence to cover all the offences. The cumulative sentence is one of nine years imprisonment, which I shall backdate to 15 March 2018, when you first went into custody in respect of this matter.

 You will remain on the Sex Offenders’ register for an indefinite period.”