October 2005

Sex abuse school caretaker jailed

A school caretaker with a long criminal record has been jailed for three years for sexually assaulting a girl of 12.

Raymond Newell, 59, from Pontllanfraith in south Wales, was convicted earlier at Cardiff Crown Court of seven indecent assaults.

He worked at his local Bryn Primary School but his victim was not a pupil.

Caerphilly Council said new staff had “robust” screening, but the same checks may not have been done for people taken on by the previous local authority.

Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Member Jocelyn Davies called for an inquiry into how he was given the job.

The case comes three years after school caretaker Ian Huntley was jailed for life for murdering Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both 10, in Soham, Cambridgeshire.

Newell carried out the assaults in a school building and at his caretaker’s bungalow in the school grounds over 18 months, the court heard.

The crown court was told that despite Newell’s convictions for a string of offences since he was a teenager, he was appointed as school caretaker at the village school.

They included three violent assaults one of them against a police officer for which he was jailed for nine months.

The court heard that he befriended the girl and bought her presents, which included underwear carrying the word “sexy”.

Ieuan Bennett, prosecuting, said the assaults took place when no-one was around, and Newell told her: “If you tell your mother about this you’ll get into trouble – and so will I.”

The court heard that twice-divorced Newell also lured other children into the school when it was empty at weekends.

‘Appalling record’

Children played on gym equipment in the main hall and went into classrooms and pretended to be teachers.

Judge William Gaskell told him: “You were in a position of responsibility and trust.

“You breached that position for more than a year until your victim felt able to talk about it. We cannot tell yet what the psychological consequences will be for her.”

Newell, was banned from working with children for life and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Jocelyn Davies, Plaid Cymru AM for south Wales east, said an inquiry was needed into how Newell was given his job despite his “appalling record”.

She said: “How on earth was a man like this allowed to work near children? It is a scandal.

“I am calling for an urgent investigation into why it happened and to make sure it never happens again.”