Feb 1999

Child rapist took pleasure in humiliating victims

A child rapist who subjected three youngsters to an horrific reign of terror was today awaiting sentence after being found guilty of carrying out a series of sickening sex attacks.

A Basildon Crown Court jury took nearly ten hours to find Westcliff man Duncan Gurney, 49, guilty of six counts of rape, six indecent assaults and three cases of cruelty against the children.

However, the jury, which failed to reach a unanimous decision on all counts, found him not guilty of hanging two of the youngsters from a balcony by their feet.

Fairground worker Gurney, of Station Road, slumped into his chair as the verdict was read and refused to stand up for part of the hearing.

During the three-week trial the court heard how Gurney took pleasure in sexually humiliating his young victims.

He would terrorise the two schoolgirls into sex during the day after sending his battered wife out to work as a prostitute.

He would also hang the helpless youngsters on doors by their jumpers, molest the girls and assault the boy.

The attacks happened between 1981 and 1985, but the victims only plucked up the courage to come forward two years ago.

The girls would often break down in tears as they relived their horror. One of the victims, now 25, told the court: “He would treat us like animals and dogs, and snap his fingers if he wanted anything.”

When she tried to escape from his flat in Hackney, east London, he viciously attacked her.

She said: “I screamed out, ‘Please don’t, I want my mum’ but he just said, ‘Shut up, and shut your mouth. If you scream again I will break your neck.’ He then raped me. I was ten years old at the time.”

She went on to tell how Gurney would beat his wife and put her on the streets to make money to fuel his drinking and betting habit.

She said: “He would often throw dinner plates at her if the peas were cold and things like that.”

The attacks eventually stopped as the girls became older. He was sentenced to 14 years.