Febuary 2009

Man gets 12 years for abusing blind boy

A MAN has been jailed for 12 years after subjecting a blind boy to repeated sexual abuse at a specialist school nearly 30 years ago.

Peter Croad, 68, was convicted by a jury of rape and sexual assaults against the 10-year-old boy, now in his 30s, who has been blind since birth.

Croad was employed as a house parent at Rushton Hall when he began the repeated rapes and abuse after grooming the child during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

His victim, whose identity is protected, was carried from his dormitory before being raped and assaulted in the toilets.

Northampton Crown Court heard how Croad left the school in 1981 and attempted to have his victim moved to his new school so the abuse could continue.

Croad, who claimed mistaken identity, denied all the charges but was convicted by majority verdicts of six offences of indecent assault, gross indecency and another serious sexual assault.

Judge Charles Wide QC said: “You singled him out for special attention. The modern word for it is grooming and you secured his silence by terrifying this little boy, telling him he would not be believed and it was his fault, when it was yours. “

The Royal National Institute for the Blind, which ran Rushton Hall, now a luxury hotel, worked closely with the police.