August 2002

Revulsion: Paedophile gets 5 years

A Rugby council worker abused his position as a youth group leader to ‘groom’ young boys before having sex with them has been met with shock and revulsion.

Paedophile John Newman, 53, who lived alone in Winwick Place, Rugby, was jailed for five years at Warwick Crown Court.

The man who was contracted to do gardening for Rugby Borough Council was convicted after pleading guilty to six charges of indecency, including two for having sex with boys who were aged about 11 at the time.

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for the crimes committed in the mid 90s at a youth club he helped run.

Newman, also convicted in 1996 for inciting a child to commit gross indecency, got close to his victims by befriending and gaining the trust of their parents.

Prosecuting, Neil Bannister said: “Over a period of time the defendant gained the friendship of the boy and progressed to sexually abusing him after grooming him for some months.”

The court heard how Newman began by touching the boy’s private parts over his clothing. Later he would touch his victim under his clothes and encourage the boy to do the same to him.

Most of the incidents took place near fishing pools or in Newman’s home, but also at the youth club Newman helped run before the boy plucked up the courage to tell him to stop.

This week Newman’s neighbours were reeling from the news. A young mother said: “He was a quiet man and kept himself to himself. No way would you ever think he was doing things like that, he was so nice and average.”

Another woman said: “You would see him going off fishing and not think anything of it. This is beyond belief and terrifying to think it was right on our doorstep. It just goes to show.”

Newman’s abuse of the second boy began when he started massaging the youngster’s toes and then moved his hands up the boy’s leg. He also carried out an indecent act in a changing room after taking him swimming. On another occasion he visited the boy’s house while his parents were out and began kissing him on his back as he lay on the floor, then pulled the boy’s trousers down and had sex with him.

Matters only came to light earlier this year when that victim made a complaint to the police, as a result of which the first victim also came forward.

When arrested Newman admitted the offences and told police about his third victim who was then interviewed and confirmed the abuse.

That boy had also been taken swimming and fishing by Newman, and the abuse progressed in the same way as with the other two victims, culminating with Newman having oral sex with him and then having sex with him under a bridge while they were fishing near Clifton lakes, added Mr. Bannister.

Matthew Barnes, defending Newman, said his client feared his elderly parents would not be alive when he had served his sentence.

He said the abuse came to light after Newman’s second victim confronted him earlier this year and attacked him, fracturing his ribs, and when the police were called the reason for the attack was revealed.

Judge Marten Coates told Newman: “Your behaviour is rightly described as a catalogue of abuse. In each case you targeted the boy and gained his trust. There is no doubt you have left deep psychological scars.”

Rose Piercey, youth worker at the Bradby Club in East Union Street, said she did not know Newman but added that stringent procedures for weeding out paedophiles had been put in place in recent years.

She said: “No one can do volunteer work with young people these days without many checks including clearance from the Criminal Records Bureau. There might still be people who haven’t yet offended but they still have to go through a very thorough checking procedure to make sure they are not a threat to young people.”

A Rugby mother whose daughter was subjected to years of sexual abuse at the hands of her teacher in an unrelated incident, said the case was ‘almost too sick for words’.

She said: “When someone in authority does something like this it is the worst kind of abuse of power.

“It takes a lot for a parent to trust an adult enough to be alone with their children. You expect them to take on the role of parent and take care of the child. To use that power for their own perverted ends is almost too sick for words.”