Category Archives: Child abuse
A man who killed three children he was babysitting and impaled them on garden railings has had his anonymity lifted.
David McGreavy, 62, was jailed for life in 1973 for the murders of four-year-old Paul Ralph and his sisters Dawn, two, and nine-month-old Samantha.
He killed them at their home in Gillam Street, Worcester, in April 1973.
In 2009 a judge imposed a ban on naming him during a hearing to protect him from other prisoners. The High Court has now overturned the ban.
In January, McGreavy made a request to be moved to an open prison and his lawyers had argued that would put his name back in the spotlight and his life at risk.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and media organisations argued the application was legally flawed and wrongly prevented the public from knowing the full facts of the case.
McGreavy was lodging with the family at the house in Gillam Street when he carried out the killings.
‘Monster of Worcester’
Paul had been strangled, Dawn was found with her throat cut, and Samantha died from a compound fracture to the skull.
The killings earned McGreavy the nickname the “Monster of Worcester”.
The anonymity ruling was made in 2009 during a hearing when McGreavy unsuccessfully challenged a ruling that he must remain in Category C prison conditions.
On Wednesday, Guy Vassall-Adams, representing the justice secretary and the media organisations objecting to the ban on naming McGreavy, told the court: “The full facts are exceptionally horrific by even the standard of
“The order restricted the media to saying they were ‘three sadistic murders’ but that doesn’t even give you the half of it.”
Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting in London with Mr Justice Simon, ruled the anonymity order must be discharged.
The High Court heard David McGreavy had been in prison for 40 years, during which time he had been seriously assaulted in 1975 and 1996 by fellow prisoners.
His counsel Quincy Whitaker told the court naming him would put him in more danger from other prison inmates.
Ms Whitaker told the court McGreavy had previously spent two years in an open prison until “hostile media coverage” led to him being returned to closed conditions “for his own safety”.
The court heard McGreavy was first transferred to category D open conditions in 1994 but the transfer to Leyhill Prison in south Gloucestershire broke down after other inmates learned of his offence.
Ms Whitaker said the triple killings were “notorious” but no concerns had been subsequently raised about his behaviour.
Name change possibleThere were “more than reasonable grounds” for a fair parole hearing that could mean him being returned to open conditions, which was a pre-requisite for release from custody, she said.
The judge held out the possibility that in future McGreavy could be allowed a change of name to protect him.
He said McGreavy’s ninth parole review was under way and a hearing could be held later this year.
Since 2007 McGreavy has made a number of failed bids to win parole, the court heard.
The Worcester MP at that time, Mike Foster, called for McGreavy to never be allowed back to the city and described the murders as an “absolutely vile crime”.
McGreavy is currently living in closed conditions in a vulnerable prisoners’ unit
- April 1973 – Murders Paul, Dawn and Samantha Ralph
- Jailed for life later that year
- 1994 – Transferred to open prison (category D) then back to closed prison conditions (Category C)
- 2007 – One of a number of bids for parole refused
- 2009 – Told he must remain in under closed prison conditions and anonymity order granted
- May 2013 – Anonymity order lifted with ninth parole review underway
Comedian Freddie Starr has been rearrested over further allegations of sexual offences.
The entertainer answered bail today and was arrested for a second time over additional claims.
Scotland Yard said that a man in his sixties had been “further arrested on suspicion of sexual offences in connection with further allegations made to Operation Yewtree”.
The investigation is the national inquiry sparked after allegations of abuse were made against Jimmy Savile.
It has been split into three strands – allegations against Savile, those against Savile and others, and those against others.
Starr was originally arrested under the “Savile and others” strand, but the re-arrest was not linked to Savile.
He has denied any wrongdoing.
Three men are to be sentenced after being found guilty of murdering a convicted child rapist in Dorset.
Geoffrey Reed (above), 57, was hit with an object like a hammer and then stamped and kicked on in his ground floor flat in Bournemouth by half brothers Stuart and Lee Wareham and Benjamin Walter.
The trio will serve life sentences for the murder and will be told the minimum terms they will serve before they are eligible for parole.
Frail Reed, who allowed the men to stay or visit his flat, suffered “enormous injuries” with fractures to his head, ribs and sternum and a broken neck, the trial at Winchester Crown Court was told.
After the murder Stuart Wareham, 26, boasted in a letter from prison that “there’s one more paedo off the street so he can’t prey on anymore little kids”.
During the four-week trial the jury were told that Stuart Wareham had found some paperwork detailing that Reed had served 10 years for four counts of rape on two vulnerable victims – one of them a child – after the men had met in a bail hostel.
The prosecution said this was a motive in the murder and also that the men wanted Reed’s benefits but when he died he only had £2.56.
The men launched the fatal attack on June 7 last year and the trio put eight-stone Reed in a suitcase that the jury saw Stuart Wareham on CCTV carry one-handed out of the flat.
Stuart Wareham then asked his sister to drive him and Benjamin Walter, 22, to their grandmother’s house in Lytchett Matravers – 13 miles away – and said there was a dead dog in the suitcase he wanted to bury there, the court heard.
Meanwhile Lee Wareham, 33, left the house with several bags and dumped Reed’s clothes while the other men buried him in a shallow grave.
Another man Danny Anderson was living in the flat and he called police three days later fearing the men had killed Reed. Specialist dogs found him buried in woodland.
During the trial each man blamed each other for the killing.
Coronation Street star Bill Roache today said he was “very sorry” over his controversial comments on the victims of paedophiles which seemed to suggest they were being punished for past sins.
Roache, 80, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 50 years, had told New Zealand’s One News that the public should not be judgmental but be “totally forgiving” of people who have committed child sex crimes.
In a statement, the actor today said: “I would like to say that I am very sorry for any offence that has been caused as a result of my comments.
“I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way.
“I had no intention of causing any kind of distress as a result of my interview and I offer my utmost sympathies to anyone affected by sexual offences and paedophilia.”
His comments drew stinging criticism from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac), which called them an insult to abuse victims.
Roache caused outrage with the interview in which the furore around the Jimmy Savile sex abuse revelations were discussed.
Former DJ Savile has now been exposed as one of the country’s most prolific paedophiles who may have abused hundreds of children.
Roache said in the interview: “If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won’t happen to you.”
Interviewer Garth Bray commented: “To some people that sounds perhaps like you’re saying victims bring things on themselves – is that what you’re saying?”
Roache replied: “No, not quite, but and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever.”
Roache went on to call for anonymity for all those accused of child sex offences because of the stigma they faced even if innocent.
He said: “Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with.
“But there’s a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies, these girls, who come, they’re sexually active, sexually mature, they don’t ask for their birth certificate, they don’t know what age they may be.
“But they’re certainly not grooming them and exploiting them, but they can be caught in this trap.
“These people are instantly stigmatised, some will be innocent, some will not, but until such time as it’s proven there should be anonymity for both.”
He added: “If someone has done something wrong, the law will take its course.
“But even so, all of them, whether they are proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever.
“We shouldn’t go around condemning, unforgiving. We should all be totally forgiving about everything.”
Dr Jon Bird, from Napac, condemned Roache’s “hippy-dippy” spiritualist beliefs, saying child sex abuse left people with horrific physical and mental scars.
“Abuse is a crime. The rape of a child is an appalling crime and the long-term effects we hear about include suicide,” he said.
“There is a whole range of terrible consequences that are life-long.
“This is a real insult, it is horrible. I think a lot of people will be deeply offended by what he said.”
A former MP who represented the Liverpool area where James Bulger was murdered has said that Britain remains ill-equipped for dealing with “exceptional” cases involving child criminals.
Peter Kilfoyle, who was Liverpool Walton MP until the last general election, said that despite widespread “soul-searching” sparked by the murder, it had not led to a more appropriate way of dealing with the “small cohort” of youngsters who commit serious crimes.
Mr Kilfoyle, 66, who founded the think-tank ExUrbe, said: “I think people would have been more prepared for an older person being held responsible for James’s murder.
“The fact that the perpetrators were also young children, for so many people that blew their minds. They couldn’t understand how this could happen.
“There was moral outrage at the idea that any child should be killed in that fashion and that was compounded by the fact that the perpetrators were also young boys. It led to a lot of soul searching.”
Former Labour MP Mr Kilfoyle, 66, believes there was a “knee-jerk” reaction “to punish and for revenge”, as illustrated in the scenes at South Sefton Magistrates’ Court when an angry mob attacked the prison van carrying Thompson and Venables to their first court hearing.
“That kind of mob violence has no place in a civilised society”, Mr Kilfoyle said. “I still find it hard to understand how people can regard children in the same way as an adult. To put them in front of the full panoply of justice can be overawing and a terrifying experience.
“Critics will say they shouldn’t have committed the crime that they did, but these were children at a limited stage of their intellectual development.
“What we didn’t have, and I’m not sure if we have them today, are the appropriate facilities to deal with these exceptional circumstances. Admittedly, a small cohort of youngsters, who commit terrible crimes or have got horrendous problems.
“I don’t think that we have worked out properly how we deal with these children. They are special cases and the assumption that was made – by the use of an adult court – that these are mini adults, they are not, they are children. A child is not a mini-adult. They have a completely different outlook and limited life experiences.”
Tougher regulation including possible new criminal legislation to strengthen corporate accountability could be introduced in the wake of the “devastating” scandal of abuse at the Winterbourne View private hospital, the Government announced today.
Care Services Minister Norman Lamb said the Winterbourne View case had revealed weaknesses in the system’s ability to hold the leaders of care organisations to account.
Under the plans, proposals to hold boards, directors and senior managers accountable for the safety and quality of care that their organisations provide, including exploring whether tougher regulatory or criminal sanctions are necessary, will be brought forward by spring next year.
Mr Lamb said he felt “very strongly” that those in charge of care homes at the centre of abuse cases should be held accountable.
“When you look at Winterbourne View, the people who committed the abuse and the assaults were convicted, but what about the people making the money from that company?,” he said.
“We need to have a situation where people who run care organisations, public or private sector or voluntary, know that they are accountable for the services they provide and there are consequences if they don’t.
“Next spring we will announce proposals to address the gap in the law on effective corporate accountability.”
The minister’s remarks were made as the Government unveiled plans to move out of long stay hospital every person with a learning disability or autism who does not need to be there.
Under the plans, the cases of all patients in current placements will be reviewed by June next year with a view to placing anyone being treated “inappropriately” in hospital into community-based support by June 2014.
There are currently 3,400 people in NHS-funded learning disability inpatient beds of which around 1,200 are in assessment and treatment units.
“I want this to be seen as a moment when there is a collective view that there needs to be a substantial culture change in society, that people with learning disabilities have the same rights as anybody else, and that we cannot any longer tolerate inappropriate care or treatment for these people and we have a collective obligation from top to bottom to change this and that there is a national imperative that we act decisively on that,” Mr Lamb said.
In October six members of staff – four support workers and two nurses – were jailed for between six months and two years for their roles in the abuse at the Winterbourne View Hospital in Hambrook, South Gloucestershire.
Five others were given suspended prison sentences by a judge at Bristol Crown Court, who condemned the “culture of ill-treatment” and said it had “corrupted and debased”.
The prosecutions came after the BBC’s Panorama programme exposed the scandal in June last year when it broadcast undercover journalist Joseph Casey’s secret footage of the abuse when he was employed at Winterbourne View as a care worker.
Mr Lamb noted in the report that he felt “shock, anger, dismay and deep regret” that vulnerable people had been treated in this way.
An ex-canon at Carlisle Cathedral has been jailed for four years after sexually abusing three teenage boys.
Ronald Johns, 75, was demoted to a village parish nearly 20 years ago by his bishop instead of police being informed of allegations made by his first victim.
The victim made an official complaint to the church in 1993 when, by then, Johns was a canon at Carlisle Cathedral.
Johns made admissions to the late Right Rev Ian Harland who felt the appropriate sanction was to move him to a church in Caldbeck.
The matter only came to the attention of police this year when another victim complained he had also been abused by Johns, Carlisle Crown Court heard.
Police checked records at the cathedral which detailed the 1993 complaint dealt with by the Right Rev Harland, who died three years ago.
Johns, of Kings Road, Coltishall, Norwich, pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to sexual offences committed against three boys – aged between 14 and 17 at the time – between 1983 and 1991.
Sentencing him, Mr Justice Singh said: “As you accept, you have ruined your life and brought disgrace upon yourself.”
He said his pre-sentence report had summarised his behaviour as “manipulative” and “predatory”.
Tim Brennand, prosecuting, said: “In 1993 the complainant met the then Bishop of Carlisle and he described the meeting as bizarre.
“He intimated to the police that the church’s stance was very defensive in relation to the defendant’s position. No formal action was taken in so much as a report to the police.”
It is understood that Johns was transferred to the new post at Caldbeck following guidance from a forensic psychiatrist that suggested he would not offend again.
In 2000, the complainant set up a meeting with Johns himself with a view to forgiving him and moving on with his life.
Mr Brennand said: “But he was disappointed in the reaction of the defendant who seemed to be concerned about how the allegations had affected his pension, causing him financial difficulties.”
John Morgans, defending, said his client had gained no advantage by the police not being informed at the time.
“This was investigated by the church and they did take action,” he said. “It was not for him to make the choice to go to the police. That was complaint-led.
“It was a demotion in the church, moving away from where he was living.
“Ultimately a ‘shaking of the hands’ with an agreement that matters had been aired, that apologies were issued and then he was dealt with by the church.”
He said the church’s decision at the time had effectively worked as there had been no repetition since of his sexual indiscretions.
Johns received a three-year jail term for two counts of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency in relation to one victim. He received additional sentences of six months each for acts of gross indecency on the two other teenagers.
Johns used classic techniques of grooming as he gained his victims’ trust and confidence before he plied them with alcohol, the court was told.
Sexual activity would often take place while he would watch pornographic videos with them.
With his third victim, on one occasion he took a church service at Carlisle Cathedral and then removed his collar robes to visit a shop and rent two such videos.
He would tell the boys that they must keep his abuse a secret and that no-one would believe them anyway if they spoke of it, the court heard.
In victim impact statements, the 1993 complainant said he had undergone lengthy counselling after a failed marriage. He suffered from depression and had suicidal thoughts.
Another victim was prone to anxiety and agoraphobia while the third victim experiences flashbacks and night terrors.
The court heard from the Archdeacon of West Cumberland, Richard Pratt, that the congregations affected had expressed their “shock, horror and betrayal” at the situation.
In mitigation, Mr Morgans said: “He demonstrates total remorse, not because he is here in this crown court but based on genuine insight into his actions. All he asks me to do is to apologise.
“He is sorry. He is sorry because he has betrayed the church he loves. He has betrayed his family, himself, the complainants’ families and the complainants.
“The chances of any future offending are nothing but low.”
A number of references were handed to the judge.
Mr Morgans continued: “The fact is that he has done many good things in his life. He has helped many people.
“He has lost his reputation and his good name and character. That is already a real punishment from him. He will be remembered for this case and not the good he has undoubtedly done.”
The current Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Rev James Newcome, said: “We unreservedly condemn this and any abuse. Jesus made it clear that those who are most vulnerable should be most precious, and hence safest with the Church.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
“We apologise again to them for failing to take the action we should have done when Ronald Johns’s crimes first came to light.”
A spokesman for Carlisle Diocese said: “A prison sentence can never be a matter of pleasure, nor can it put right wrongs that were done, but the sentence given to Ronald Johns today is just and fair and reflects the gravity of his offences.
“We know that those abused can be manipulated by the abuser so that they are the ones who end up feeling guilty, while the abuser attempts to excuse himself. The Diocese of Carlisle therefore hopes that Ronald Johns’s victims will feel that this sentence lays clear the truth: Ronald Johns did wicked things, which were not their fault or responsibility.
“We thank the police for all their work, those who deal with these very painful and stressful sorts of cases deserve our prays and support.
“In case anyone is affected by these matters, we have set up a special helpline with the NSPCC 24 hours a day, seven days a week, where independent, confidential and sensitive advice can be sought. The number is: 0808 800 5000 (calls free from UK landlines). The county council social care department can also offer help and advice, their number is 0333 240 1727 Or, of course, people can ring the police directly on 101.”
Investigating officer Detective Inspector Gary McFadden: “Today’s court appearance marks the end of a 12-month police investigation which only began due to the bravery of the victims who had the strength to come forward and report what had happened to them all those years ago. This takes remarkable strength and they have remained our focus throughout the investigation. Many of those victims were in court today to see justice being brought by the sentence which was imposed.
“Johns abused his position of trust to commit heinous crimes against children – and now, almost 20 years on he has received his punishment.”
The Parole Board, which assesses the dangerousness of criminals eligible for release, has refused to comment on whether the mother of north London child Baby P could soon be freed.
Tracey Connelly was jailed indefinitely with a minimum of five years in May 2009 for causing or allowing the death of her 17-month-old son Peter at his home in Tottenham.
The toddler died on August 3 2007 with more than 50 injuries, despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over eight months.
Connelly admitted the offence soon after being charged and served several hundred days on remand and will therefore possibly be eligible for parole in the coming weeks from Foston Hall Prison in Derby, where she is believed to be.
Connelly was jailed along with boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen, who were convicted at trial of the same offence.
Barker was jailed for life with a minimum of 10 years for raping a two-year-old girl and given a 12-year term to run concurrently for his “major role” in Peter’s death.
Owen was jailed indefinitely with a minimum three-year term but later won an appeal to lower it to a fixed six-year term. He was freed last August.
A Parole Board spokesman said: “It is the policy of the board not to comment on or confirm its decisions or reasons in individual cases such as this.
“Once an IPP (indeterminate for public protection) sentence prisoner’s minimum tariff has been served, the court regards them as having served the necessary period of imprisonment to reflect the gravity of the offence and the need for punishment.”
“The only legal question which has to be answered to determine the justification for detention thereafter is whether or not the prisoner is a risk to the public.”
Children in care homes are being subjected to sexual abuse of a “violent and sadistic nature”, England’s Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz has warned.
She made the comments as the Government announced new reforms that aim to better protect youngsters who reside in the country’s 455 children’s homes.
The action comes following a report published by Ms Berelowitz, which was ordered after the jailing of a sex abuse ring in May which preyed on vulnerable girls in Rochdale. Only one of the girls was in care at the time of the abuse but all were known to social services at some point in their childhood.
The ongoing inquiry has highlighted evidence that children in care are particularly vulnerable to child sex exploitation, with some residential homes being specifically targeted by abusers.
Ms Berelowitz said her research found perpetrators come from all ethnic groups, as do their victims, who are as young as 11 and are largely but not exclusively girls.
Speaking alongside Children’s Minister Tim Loughton as he announced the new measures, she said of the abuse: “It is of a violent and sadistic nature.
“I’ve been in the children’s services field for a very long time, and I have never come across the scale of violence and sadism that I’m encountering now. The stories that children and young people tell us are truly horrific.
“I think it’s quite right and proper that the Government is paying special attention to this group of children as the state is their parent and therefore we have a special duty of care to children who are under care orders of one kind or another.”
A spokesman for Ofsted said: “Ofsted welcomes the Government’s commitment to improve the quality of care in children’s homes that care for some of the most vulnerable young people in our society. The role of inspection in assuring the quality of that care is of great importance to Ofsted.
“In April 2011, we introduced a wholly new framework for the inspection of children’s homes. As an independent inspectorate, we keep all our inspection activity under continuous review. As a result, in April 2012 we further revised the criteria against which inspectors make their judgments, significantly raising the bar.”
People who abuse children and try to escape unpunished by staying silent or blaming someone else will face up to 10 years in prison from next week, Kenneth Clarke has said.
The loophole will be closed by extending the offence of causing or allowing the death of a child, which was used to prosecute Baby P’s killers, to cover causing or allowing serious physical harm, such as brain damage or broken bones, the Justice Secretary said.
It follows a number of cases where prosecutions could not be brought because it was impossible to identify the individual responsible for the abuse.
This included the cases of a five-month-old baby who suffered a brain haemorrhage and fractured skull and a two-week-old with a broken collar bone, ribs and leg, the Ministry of Justice said.
No-one was charged in either case, but the injuries were not thought to be accidental.
“By making sure this Bill became law we have taken the opportunity to close a terrible loophole which has, until now, allowed people accused of seriously harming a child or vulnerable adult to escape unpunished,” Mr Clarke said.
“We want to do everything possible to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our society are kept safe in their homes, and those that abuse their power do not evade justice.”
The new offence, the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012, will also apply where the victim is a vulnerable adult.
Tory MP Sir Paul Beresford, who introduced the Private Member’s Bill which was backed by the Government, said: “This new legislation will ensure that fewer cases of abuse slip through the net and is another safeguard to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of the NSPCC, added: “This change in the law is a real victory for children and has the potential to bring many more child abusers to justice.
“Adults can no longer inflict horrific injuries on children and get away with it by staying silent or blaming each other.”
Baby P, now named as Peter Connelly (pictured), was 17 months old when he died in Tottenham, north London, on August 3 2007.
He had suffered more than 50 injuries despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over eight months.
Peter’s mother Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker, and his brother Jason Owen were jailed in May 2009 for causing or allowing the baby’s death.