Former Halle Orchestra principal is jailed for sex offences

Former Halle Orchestra principal is jailed for sex offences


norman lebrecht

March 29, 2017

A former principal second violinist with the Manchester-based orchestra was jailed yesterday for 28 months.

Dara De Cogan, 58, was found guilty of grooming a girl pupil from the age of 13 to fulfil his sexual fantasies. The offences occurred while he was teaching at Ampleforth College, a private Roman Catholic boarding school.

De Cogan joined the Halle in 1982 and was promoted to principal second four years later. He became head of strings at Ampleforth in 2004. He was an active chamber musician, with several recordings to his credit.

photo: York Press


  • Daniel F. says:

    What does “grooming a girl pupil”–the act for which he has been jailed–actually mean? And how was it shown–assuming it has been reported–that he did this “grooming” in order to fulfill his “se+ual” fantasies? Did the perpetrator mount (you might say) a defense and, if so, in what did it consist? Is there a link out there to reportage of greater specificity?

    • Richard Gibbs says:

      What do you think it means? It’s pretty straightforward, he was found guilty of abusing his position of trust with an under-age girl who has since found it almost impossible, as an adult, to maintain a normal relationship. It’s a despicable crime which has completely blighted the life of his victim and he’s very lucky to have got away with a sentence of only twenty-eight months.

      • Opal S. says:

        Yes. Daniel F. needs to get tae fuck. I don’t think that her life is ‘completely blighted’, though. She sounds like one of the strongest, bravest people in the world. It’s people like Daniel F. who will go no where in life. So much respect for this brave, brave lady.

        • Opal S. says:

          P. S. By that I don’t mean that his crime is any less severe – if I were the judge he would’ve been jailed for life – I just mean that I reckon this woman will be able to move forward in time and that she’ll rock the whole fucking world in the best way. She’s clearly talented from the articles, and even The Crown is behind her, so two fucking fingers to sexual abusers, child molesters and paedophiles,and all their supporters!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Opal S. says:

        Yes. Daniel F. needs to shut up. I don’t think that her life will be ‘completely blighted’ for always, though: I don’t mean that his crime is any less severe by saying that – if I were the judge he would’ve been jailed for life – I just mean that I reckon this woman will be able to move forward in time and that she’ll rock the whole world in the best way. She’s clearly talented from the articles, and even The Crown is behind her, so two fingers to sexual abusers, child molesters and paedophiles, and all their supporters, and THUMBS UP for all brave survivors like her!!!!!!!!!!!! She sounds like one of the strongest, bravest people in the world. It’s people who talk like Daniel F. who will go no where in life. So much respect.

      • Daniel Fogarty says:

        Love your response. That other Daniel needs to wake the fuck up and stop supporting child abuse with his attempts at rape jokes. Sick bastard.

        • Daniel F. says:

          Your “thoughts” here are difficult to account for, as I was only asking questions about a case with which, here in the US, I was completely unfamiliar. Rushing to judgment and inferring incorrectly what my views on this matter are is analogous to vigilante lynching. That goes for you too, Opal. I’m not, as you say, “shutting up”. For the record, I think 28 months for what this man did is WAY TOO LIGHT A SENTENCE! Do you READ me? Twenty-five years to Life would have been the correct sentence for what he was convicted of. 28 months serves to make light of a heinous crime.

          • John D. says:

            Hmm. Good that you’ve clarified your views, but honestly mate what the actual fuck did you think people were going to think after your first comment contained a rape joke? If you read all the rest of the comments on this site, you’ll see that people think you should apologise for that crap as it’s thoughtless and fucked up. As Richard Gibbs said, it’s completely inappropriate, and ask yourself what the survivor would think of you making a joke about something so disgusting and low that she went through? You need to look at how brave she must have been and man the fuck up a bit. I’m also from the US, but just because the crime happened overseas is no excuse to write something so thoughtless – obvs. people are going to be fuming at you for that shit.

          • Opal S. says:

            Glad you think so. But honestly you shouldn’t have made a rape joke if you didn’t want people to be pissed off with you – if you comment something in public you need to own it and in this case, apologise for it. It’s not just two people who think that, clearly. If the survivor reads this she should know that everyone’s on her side, so you need to make it clear who you’re supporting from the off.

          • Opal S. says:

            *As Alexander Davidson says, not Richard Gibbs, my mistake.

          • Moira McGrath says:

            Having looked at all the comments I get why you don’t like some of their harsh tones, but honestly if you make a rape joke it’s important that people protest that. Rape jokes are never OK, whether you mean anything by them or not. If you want more info here’s the best link: – just facts – nothing sensationalised to sell a story.

          • John D. says:

            Um…for some reason one of my comments earlier today has been put under Opal S.’ name? Please correct, Mr. LeB. it’s the one that reads, ‘*As Alexander Davidson says, not Richard Gibbs, my mistake.’ Right name to the right comment is probably helpful…mayhbe messed up server or some shit

    • Max Grimm says:

      “Is there a link out there to reportage of greater specificity?”

      There exists an expedient method to ascertain whether there is or not…
      ‘’ + ‘Dara De Cogan’ = **

      **After clicking above, you may choose from several links to reportage of greater specificity.

      • Bruce says:

        There’s also a very educational site called “LMGTFY” (for “Let Me Google That For You”). You can choose to add an “internet explainer” as well, for added clarity.

    • Alexander Davidson says:

      First, your attempt at humour (‘Did the perpetrator mount (you might say) a defense …’) is absolutely inappropriate in this context.

      To address your points:

      1. There is an offence of ‘Meeting a child following sexual grooming etc.’ This is contrary to section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. In this case, however, grooming did not actually form part of the specific offence of which the defendant was convicted (it was presumably an aggravating feature in the sentencing and would have been an important part of the evidence if the defendant had not pleaded guilty). The offence was ten counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust, contrary to section 16 of the same Act.

      2. The offence was ‘shown’ by the defendant pleading guilty to ten counts on the indictment. He was originally charged with 12 counts, and no report that I have read explains why he did not plead guilty to those counts or how they were disposed of (my guess would be ordered to lie on file).

      3. The defendant made little attempt at a defence, as he pleaded guilty to the large majority of the offences charged.

      4. To read more about the case, just Google the name Dara de Cogan. It is reported in The Press (the name of the local newspaper in York), The Scarborough News, BBC website, Yorkshire Post, Daily Mail, the website of the law firm Jordans Solicitors, and The Northern Echo, among other places, e.g. blogs.

      • Sally Lynn says:

        EXACTLY, Alexander Davidson!!!! Good for you for supporting this FUCKING AMAZING survivor and putting that wanker, Daniel F., in his place. People who laugh at child abuse, particularly child sex abuse, need to get their heads checked. I bet he spends most of his days wanking alone and hanging out with his paedo friends. Sick. Your comments are all about the well-being of the survivor and why the bastard who abused her is – well – an abuser. First class.

      • Opal S. says:

        Yeah, man. You tell that sick bastard to go the fuck home and get arrested with his paedophile friends. Anyone who finds child sexual abuse funny deserves to be shot in my view. This woman is clearly BRAVE AS FUCK and deserves ALL the respect.

      • Adam B. says:

        SO inappropriate. Probs a perv himself. #nonce

      • Daniel Fogarty says:

        YES – inappropriate and SO BAD. This person needs to get back to wanking and stop trying to shit all over brave survivors like this one. Get a life, Daniel F. (the other Daniel F. I’m the cool one) and grow the fuck up. You clearly hang out in a paedo gang, you massive dick.

    • Michael J. says:

      You are a sick fuck. Who on earth thinks that those kind of comments are in ANY WAY appropriate?! This survivor must be one of the bravest fucking souls on the planet to live through this shit and then have the courage to report it, and relive the media sensationalising it all (with varied accuracy about the facts, if you read the different articles). She was 13, you prick. Everyone’s explained what the problem was above, but why you can’t be arsed to Google is beyond me. Are you a paedophile too, or just a lazy supporter of child molesters? I predict that this woman is going to go extremely far in life, and the last thing she needs is wankers like you getting in the way. Fucking coward.

      • Sally Lynn says:

        Totally agreed, Michael! Good on you for putting that tosspot in his place. This courageous woman will go so far now that she’s taken the step that SO MANY survivors are too afraid to take ever. Daniel F: you need to think about why you find child abuse amusing. Sick bastard. Obviously you’re a rapist too, or at least have them as your close, personal friends. To the survivor of this terrible abuse: IF YOU’RE READING THIS PLEASE KNOW THAT THE WHOLE FUCKING NATION IS ON YOUR SIDE, AND YOU ARE AMAZING, WOMAN!!!!!!!! YOU’LL SET THE WORLD ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Xxxxxxxxxxx

      • Opal S. says:

        Exactly. You tell him. Wanker.

    • Elizabeth Boon says:

      What the fuck is wrong with you, you sick turd? Making rape jokes is so despicable, and as you can tell, nobody on this site is impressed with your behaviour. Fucking apologise and stop asking for all the graphic details, you sick fuck. Want to wank off to it, do you? You disgust me.

    • stefan says:

      Hi Daniel – This kind of “Devil’s Advocacy” you engage in is just rape apology, plain and simple .
      Middle aged man in position of power cannot be “seduced”, “mistaken” or “weak” for having sex with 13 year old.
      He is a rapist and should get the same treatment in jail.

  • Chuck Robinson says:

    Seriously??? You’re actually questioning what ‘grooming’ is and making SICK jokes when you have Google at your disposal, and should be commenting in support of this absolute gem of a survivor who deserves every single ounce of respect your pathetically small brain can muster, if at all. Don’t you think she’s been through enough, and then on top of that has to deal with the press exploit her pain for their own fucking benefit, without you fucking weighing in with your fucked up brain and opinion? There’s one word for people like you, mate: SICKO. Go away and wank you wanker: at least then you’ll be keeping your hands to yourself and not feeling up innocents with your pedo friends. Tosser.

  • Isaac Ring says:

    It’s so messed up that SoundCloud are still allowing his profile on their site. I’m boycotting that shit unless they take it down – bloody sites supporting pedos for their own personal gain.

    • Elizabeth Boon says:

      I’m boycotting SoundCloud as well and would encourage everyone else to #boycottsoundcloud as long as this bastard is featured there. Waste of fucking gigabytes.

    • Alice Webb says:

      I’m boycotting too. Companies need to learn that both directly and indirectly supporting people like this just encourages the problem. #boycottsoundcloud

    • Sean O'Toole says:

      I’ve only just seen this no fucking way!!!! That is disgraceful: will gladly be boycotting SoundCloud after reading this until his profile is taken down. Disgusting that they’re using paedos for profit. #boycottsoundcloud

  • Isaac Ring says:

    This is the most reliable link in terms of information and accuracy: . Not sensationalist, just factual, AND it praises the survivor for her bravery which is what should be done in EVERY article written about this fucked up shit she went through.

  • Alice Green says:

    This violinist should have his dick lopped off and the survivor should get the bloody Victoria Cross for her bravery. Nasty piece of work this man. And anyone who finds child sexual abuse amusing should get their bollocks chopped off too. Bloody paedos. This girl will have an amazing life I am sure, though: if she can live through this and have the courage to stand up and tell the truth, she can do anything.

  • Sean O'Toole says:

    Anyone else think that The Halle should make some sort of a statement condemning this man’s actions? Just because he’s a talented musician doesn’t mean he should get off any more lightly (sentencing should be about 10 x as long in my view). I’m sure that they don’t want the publicity but I think that they shouldn’t shy away from doing the right thing: this survivor clearly didn’t – as the CPS said, she’s shown ‘considerable bravery’ – and in my view deserves a sodding medal. This Dara arsehole makes me ashamed to be Irish.

    • John Smith says:

      I do!!! The Halle should definitely speak out. But don’t let this tosser’s actions make you ashamed of your nationality. As an English person who loves Ireland, I’m sure that de Cogan’s views on raping children don’t represent the whole of your country. X

      • Geraldine Fox says:

        Agreed! It’s never too late to condemn a person’s actions and I think that the Halle should take action, especially as they do a lot of education work and stuff – they should say that they really support the survivor and her bravery, and disown that rapist bastard that abused her. SO BRAVE. I bet she’ll have an awesome career as a musician herself and will fly, fly, FLY, considering how strong she’s been here. Chop it off.

    • Orla Ó Baoighill says:

      Yeah I think they should too. Bang on. But don’t let one gobshite make you ashamed of your heritage. I’m Irish too but I know that he doesn’t represent me or my country.

  • Brendan Shanahan says:

    Same here. And yeah he is a right embarrassment for us and our country. Fecking pervert tosser.

  • Mark R. says:

    Soundcloud need to take his shit down. Dis-fucking-graceful. Boycott that site.

  • Albert Goer says:

    This bastard is sick. SICK. And this survivor should get a medal for her bravery. Why haven’t the Halle condemned it?!?!???? Bet they’re just hoping people will ignore it…cowards

  • Abbad Meagher says:

    OMG I’ve just seen this this guy is all over Google he is sick and should be locked up for life. I actually threw up in my mouth a bit what the actual fuck. Thnx for sharing, Norman, ppl need to know about this turd of a human being.

  • Adam Jacobbes says:

    Came across this after the news about the IICSA report in the press on Thursday. You should do a RT of this, Norman – people mustn’t forget what a piece of scum this man is and, more importantly, the incredible bravery of the survivor speaking out. I hope and pray that she has the brightest future in the world.

  • Edwina Greenwood says:

    This person makes me vomit. Norman you should do a follow up in the wake of the recent report so that ppl don’t forget about the things that this POS did. Stunned that the Halle still haven’t commented – another big organisation pretending that CSA has nothing to do with them.

  • This incredible survivor spoke with such bravery, clarity and conviction and offers hope for the future. Such an insightful and hopeful interview on The Times’ podcast, proving that people can go through the most horrific things and still thrive: . David Aaronovitch hosted. Please contact Rape Crisis if you are affected by any of these issues.