May 2010

Robert Marti, Kevin Carpenter, Luke James and David Coxhead guilty of 70 sexual offences

MEMBERS of a sickening paedophile ring who targeted vulnerable young boys in Bournemouth for more than 10 years are facing decades behind bars.

A complicated two-month trial saw four men convicted of more than 70 sexual offences and a judge describe them as “dangerous and depraved”.

Kevin Carpenter will serve at least 12 years and Robert Marti at least nine years for a catalogue of horrific sex offences against young boys.

But Judge Christopher Harvey Clark told them it is possible they may never be released. A third man, David Coxhead, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Jurors heard how vile abuse took place for many years until two 14-year-old boys were brave enough to speak out about what had happened to them.

Their courage sparked a major investigation by the Dorset Police Child Abuse Investigation Team, known as Operation Cobalt, which identified more than 20 victims

Marti, 56, (pic below)of Haviland Mews, Boscombe, was found guilty of 21 crimes including rape, sexual activity with a child and causing/inciting sexual activity with children.

When jurors announced the rape verdict there were cheers from family and friends of the victims in the public gallery. Carpenter, 49, of St Swithun’s Road, Bournemouth was convicted of 36 offences including sexual activity with a child and taking indecent images of a child.

They included photographs and a video showing himself abusing a boy. He was also found guilty of other serious sexual offences.

Kevin Carpenter, 49,(pic below) of St Swithun’s Road, Bournemouth was convicted of 36 offences including sexual activity with a child and taking indecent images of a child, including photographs and a video showing himself abusing a boy. He was also found guilty of other serious sexual offences.

Luke James, 36, of Charminster Road, Bournemouth pleaded guilty to possession of indecent images, indecent assault and another serious sexual offence before the trial began and has since been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.

David Coxhead, 52, (pic below) now of Severn Beach, Avon and Somerset, was found guilty of nine offences of indecency with children and another serious offence. Coxhead, who was reported to police after victims read a report about the case in the Daily Echo, used to run Dorset Angling in Boscombe.

Prosecutors had told jurors: “The defendants were and are paedophiles who obtain their sexual gratification by targeting boys who, in return for money or drugs, would indulge in sexual activity with them.

“These boys were ripe for abuse. They were easy targets who could be groomed and effectively turned into rent boys. Whether by their background or reputation, these defendants thought they would not be believed should any of them complain.

“They are the sort of boys whose character could be attacked, boys with problems at home or at school, boys with few, if any, positive adult influences, some of whom were slipping into drug abuse.”

The court heard the boys were abused in a number of locations including the home addresses of the defendants, a shop, an amusement arcade and outdoor locations such as queens park.