and Scouts react to guilty verdict for Burnham Scout leader
court has found former Burnham-On-Sea Scouts leader David Burland
guilty of 33 sexual offences against children.
Mr Burland, 54, from Ramsay Way, was convicted at Taunton Crown
Court on Friday (February 3rd) of carrying out the abuse over
a 23-year period.
The 33 offences, which related to three boys and a girl, were
committed between 1987 and November 2010 when he worked in the
Scout movement in the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area.
Detective Constable Mark Fudge, from Avon and Somerset Police,
said in a statement after Friday's conviction: "He hid behind
his role as a Scout master 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
A spokesman for The Scout Association added: "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. The Scout Association has co-operated
fully with the statutory agencies during this case."
During the two-week court trial at Taunton Crown Court, one of
Burland's victims told jurors how he was forced to watch a pornographic
film when he was 14 years old. He told the jury he had not wanted
to watch the film but Mr Burland had forced him to. He said: "I
have never felt anything like it before or since. I just wished
the ground would open up."
Prosecutor Ian Fenny told the jury of eight women and four men
that Burland was a sexual predator who manipulated his victims.
"Of course there came the moment when he made one mistake
that let the cat out of the bag," he said. "It was perhaps
careless, perhaps arrogant."
"He abused a young girl in a way that worried and disturbed
her. She confided in a lady... it was on one occasion in the presence
of this lady that the defendant actually touched his victim in
a wholly inappropriate way. That allowed her to say to this woman,
'did you see what he did to me?', she said, 'yes. I did'. It was
after this that investigations began."
Mr Fenny told the court Burland had used beer and pornography
to convince the boys to engage in sexual activity with him. He
would pressure them, telling them not to be "silly",
that it was all "normal" and a bit of fun, and threatening
them by saying he would tell people they were gay if they told
anyone about his abuse.
Mr Burland took the witness stand during the trial and strongly
denied the allegations by claiming that they were a "complete
Family members took to the stand to support his account of events.
Defence solicitor Rebecca Bradbury also read several character
references for Mr Burland from friends and others outside his
family which highlighted Mr Burlands devoted time to the
Sentencing will be held next Friday (February 10th). He has been
remanded in custody.