Former naval officer jailed for sexual assault

|News, Sexual offences

A former Royal Navy officer has been sentenced to seven years and six months imprisonment for a series of indecent assaults committed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Charles Howeson, 68, used his position of authority both in the Navy and as Executive Director of a charity in Plymouth to allow him to indecently assault his victims.

Howeson touched the men indecently whilst working on a Navy ship in 1985 and when he moved to Plymouth in 1987.

He continued his abuse at The Groundwork Trust in Plymouth, a charity which carried out environmental work, including a project on Drake's Island in the centre of Plymouth Sound. Howeson took young and vulnerable staff members to isolated areas of the island under the pretence of work before indecently assaulting them.

Howeson denied all the charges but was convicted by a jury at Bristol Crown Court on 22 December 2017.

Lisa Cassidy, from the CPS, said: "Howeson was in a position of authority over each victim, abusing his position of trust to commit a series of offences.

"The crimes took place over a period of nearly 10 years, first while Howeson was a naval officer and later at a local charity.

"Howeson denied all the charges but evidence presented by the CPS showed that each of his victims had suffered similar assaults and he was convicted by the jury as a result.

"Howeson was a sexual predator and his actions have had, and will continue to have, a profound effect of his victims. Their bravery in coming forward and giving evidence must be commended; it is only with their support that we have secured his conviction and ensured that justice is served.

"This case demonstrates that any complaints of sexual offences, whether recent or historic, are taken seriously, and we endeavour to ensure that all perpetrators are brought to justice, regardless of their position within the local community."


Notes to editors

  • Lisa Cassidy is a District Crown Prosecutor in CPS South West.
  • Charles Howeson was convicted of 10 counts of indecent assault in December 2017. He was acquitted of two further charges in June 2018.

Further reading