“I can never forgive him for what he did.”
The second victim said: “During my first year at my football club, I was very happy. That was until I met Cowland.
“Cowland had a major impact on my life. I endured long periods of abuse, which made me feel angry, sad, fearful, confused, and guilty.
“It’s had a major impact on my adult life. I find it hard to move on, meet new people and trust the friends I have.
“I have a lot of regrets about my childhood which revolves around Cowland. I believe he was the one who caused my depression and anxiety.
“It should have been so different being brought up by a loving family in a beautiful village. Cowland ruined everything for me.
“Cowland has now admitted his offense and what he did to me. It will be a small compensation to see him punished and to stop him from doing this to anyone else.”
The court heard that Cowland was sentenced to sixteen months in prison on March 6, 2012 at Warwick Crown Court after he admitted selling indecent photos of boys and possessing 1,000 indecent photos of children in October 2010, with a view to distributing them.
As part of his sentence, Cowland was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and was placed on a sex offense prevention order that restricted his internet use and prevented him from working or coming into contact with children.
Then, on November 1, 2017, Cowland appeared in Galway District Court for breaching that order as well as an Irish court order issued on July 17 of the same year for using a fake Facebook profile to search for the names of injured parties related to a previous case.
In November the following year, he again appeared in Wexford District Court, charged with breaching sex offender orders.
As part of a routine inspection, Cowland’s home was raided in October 2017 and two computer devices were examined, which revealed he had inquired about properties in France, where he had previously lived , and had applied for an Indian passport. He had also deleted his browsing history, which violated the terms of his order.
Defending Joe Maloney said Cowland thought all historical sex matters were behind him when he asked for 500 other misdemeanors to be considered as part of the sentence he received in 1988.
“After being extradited to this country from Ireland, there have been a number of delays in getting this case through to the courts,” Mr Maloney said. “He initially denied the allegations but later realized that the names of these two boys had not been included among the 500 offenses that were considered.
“Cowland is ashamed of what he did. However, he now fears others may come forward following the publicity of the case. Many of these crimes were kept secret during this time. It was that period when people like Jimmy Savile were on display.
“Cowland suffered his own childhood abuse. This neither justifies nor excuses his actions, but may explain his way of thinking and state of mind.
“He was released on bail on bail of €5,000 in November last year and that money is currently in the hands of a solicitor in Ireland. Cowland suggested this could be used as compensation for his victims.
“He has been in pre-trial detention in this country for six months. He has since confronted his behavior. The former Cowland probation officer was the author of his most recent pre-sentence report which suggests he could be treated in the community if he gets a suspended sentence.”
The six counts admitted by Cowland yesterday were of indecent assault and gross indecency against the two boys – one between 1973 and 1975 in Cheltenham and the other between 1979 and 1982 at locations in England and Wales.
Judge Michael Cullum told Cowland: “It is quite clear that at this point in your life you were a prolific pedophile. Your offense lasted approximately 25 years, which includes your entire offense with these two victims who are now adult men.
“Your real offense to these last two victims is to rob them of their childhood.
“Both men should have had a good childhood because the ingredients were in place, but you came and took it away.
“Over the years you have had access to children, through your filming activities, as a youth worker and your voluntary activities in the world of sport, including football and teaching martial arts.
“You were attracted to anything that interested prepubescent boys. You clearly healed each of these two victims and found ways to keep them away from their families. You then abused them by touching them in their private parts.
“These are serious offences. However, we are now so many decades after your previous offence. However, I fully understand how your victims feel and that you will receive a custodial sentence, which they don’t care about.
“They, like me, would have seen you shaking your head apparently denying any of the aggravating elements of this case.
“But what you can’t do is bring your victims’ childhoods back to life. Your first period in prison did not deter you from reoffending.
“The only appropriate sentence I can impose is an immediate custodial sentence and that’s three and a half years.”
Cowland was reminded that the sexual abuse order and his sex offender registration remain in place.
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