A sex offender who abused young girls as a police officer and became one of Britain’s oldest prisoners in prison has died aged 93 after a fall in prison.
James Glendenning, then 88, from Reddish, Greater Manchester, was jailed for 23 years in 2018 for abusing girls in the 1970s in what a judge described as “utterly depraved and extremely vicious” abuse.
One of his victims described screaming in pain as Glendenning, who worked for West Midlands Police for 17 years, attacked her, and another that his tormentor had threatened him to keep quiet because he had vowed to take her with him to beat with a stick. .
Crown Court Judge David Stockdale, sitting at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court, told the defendant in November 2018 that he did not need to be in the dock because of his physical condition.
Glendenning (pictured outside court in 2018) had “betrayed” the girls’ trust, the judge said, describing the pensioner’s crimes as “completely humiliating”.
He had used a Zimmer frame throughout the entire process.
One of his victims cried as he delivered his verdict after being found guilty of one count of rape, 10 counts of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child.
He told Glendenning, who denied all allegations against him: “You committed serious sexual assaults when you were young girls.”
“Your offenses were utterly depraved and utterly evil.”
Glendenning had “betrayed” the girls’ trust, the judge continued, describing the pensioner’s crimes as “completely humiliating”.
The judge added: “The girls submitted to you because they had no other choice.”
“You are now bringing shame on your former job as a police officer. “It is hard to imagine a greater breach of trust that innocent young girls would show you.”
The judge acknowledged in handing down the sentence that Glendenning would spend the rest of his life behind bars.
His prediction proved correct after the OAP died on October 29 after being found unconscious in his cell at Category A HMP Manchester the previous day.
James Glendenning, 88, came to court in 2018 using a walking frame
It is believed he fell from his cell bed and was found on the floor by prison officers who checked on him at breakfast.
The former West Midlands officer, who committed some of his crimes while serving in the military, died in a local hospital.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “Prisoner James Glendenning died on October 29, 2023. As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will investigate.”
The court was told one of the victims had tried to alert police to Glendenning’s heinous crimes years ago.
The judge said: “She went to the police but she was not believed. “This was devastating for her.”
An investigation was “reopened” following a further complaint in 2015, the court heard.
Addressing Glendenning directly, the judge continued: “You have lied repeatedly now.”
“You lied to the police in the mid-1980s. They lied to police in interviews in 2015 and 2016.
“You lied to the jury on the witness stand for several days. Your lies have now been exposed and the representations of the two complainants, which you dismissed as fake, were fully accepted by the jury in their verdicts.
Judge Stockdale said Glendenning’s two victims had suffered “horrendous trauma” and described their feelings of fear, isolation as well as mental health issues, illness, self-harm, difficulty forming relationships and guilt.
The judge praised the woman for her “courage, stoicism and dignity” and said: “This is long-term damage that the abuse of young children inevitably causes.”
“It is to be hoped that after all these years they will now find some closure.”
Keith Harrison, defending, pointed to his client’s “extreme age” and “reduced life expectancy” due to illness and infirmity as damages.
Mr Harrison said: “He does not suffer from an immediately life-threatening condition, but as you have observed during the trial, he has genuine health issues which affect his quality of life.”
“He has lost everything he had in the outside world, shelter, finances, where his life resembles a life in prison. “That is the sad reality of his situation.”
Glendenning showed no reaction as he was helped from the dock into the cells to begin his sentence.
An NSPCC spokesman said in 2018: “Glendenning has shown no remorse for his actions, which have had a devastating impact on the lives of his victims.”
“But because of her courage in speaking out, Glendenning’s horrific crimes against children have finally caught up with him.”
“We hope survivors can now get the support they need. “At the NSPCC, our Letting the Future In service works with children who have experienced sexual abuse to overcome the experience and rebuild their lives.”
Britain’s oldest prisoner is believed to be 105-year-old great-grandfather Ralph Clarke, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2016 for sexually assaulting a boy and two girls between 1974 and 1983.
The former lorry driver from Birmingham died at HMP Salford in February 2021.