Former Leeds councillor Ron Grahame tried to rape young girl in bed as she slept, court told

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An ex Leeds councillor tried to rape a young girl in bed as she slept at his house, a court has been told.

Ron Grahame groomed the girl before inviting her to stay at his house in Leeds in the early 1980s, the prosecution said at Leeds Crown Court this afternoon. He began by touching her over a matter of months, culminating in Grahame trying to rape her, it is alleged.

The 80-year-old is accused of four counts including two indecent assaults, attempted rape and attempted buggery. Due to having vascular dementia, Grahame is not able to stand trial, but a trial of facts is underway in which a jury will decide on whether he was responsible. He previously denied all four offences.

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Opening the case for the Crown, Heather Gilmore said that Grahame - formerly known as Ron Blower and who worked as a city councillor - had lived in Leeds with his wife and two sons at the time of the alleged offences.

He had invited the young girl to his house to practice her gymnastics and it is alleged he would tell her to get changed in front of him and would “stare at her”. While she practiced moves such as handstands and “the crab”, Grahame would assist in holding her in position.

Ron Grahame (pictured) is unfit to stand trial but a trial of facts is underway at Leeds Crown Court (pics by National World)Ron Grahame (pictured) is unfit to stand trial but a trial of facts is underway at Leeds Crown Court (pics by National World)
Ron Grahame (pictured) is unfit to stand trial but a trial of facts is underway at Leeds Crown Court (pics by National World)

However, the young girl - who cannot be named for legal reasons - said that he would then begin touching her vagina over her leotard. In a video statement given to police and played to the court this afternoon, it was heard that he touched her on about 10 occasions during frequent visits to his home.

On one occasion though, he touched her underneath her leotard. Then finally, when the girl stayed over at the house, he climbed into bed with her while his wife was downstairs.

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The girl said she “froze” and was “curled up like a ball” as he tried to rape her. It was only when he was disturbed by his wife making a noise that he got out of the bed and left the room. The next morning the girl went downstairs and she said Grahame “had the cheek to ask me what I wanted for my breakfast”.

The girl stopped talking for two months and when her mother finally asked her, she confessed about what Grahame had done, but nothing came of it. It was not until the woman told her partner and friends about the abuse that she finally went to the police in 2020. She said she tried searching for Grahame on the internet, but was unable to find him due to his name change.

Grahame, now of Swardale Green, Swarcliffe, was the councillor for Burmantofts and Richmond Hill until May 2022. He was first elected onto Leeds City Council to represent Whinmoor in 1982. 

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Due to the proceedings being a trial of facts, Grahame does not take part and not even required to attend. Unlike a criminal trial, the jury is not required to return a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The court will also not sentence them in the usual way, if they find him responsible. Instead, the judge has the option of making a number of treatment orders, or an absolute discharge.

The trial of facts continues and is expected to last until the end of the week, or early next week.