December 2011

VICTIM OF CARLISLE SERIAL CHILD ABUSER PRAISED FOR SPEAKING OUT

A pervert who got a job at a Cumbrian boarding school despite the fact that he had been to prison for sex offences against children is now likely to die behind bars after being jailed indefinitely for abusing more boys.

Peter Maxwell, 67, was described in court as a “dangerous” sexual predator.

The pervert, who worked as a caretaker and then a “matron” at Lime House School near Dalston, was this week jailed indefinitely after he admitted an horrific catalogue of sexual abuse involving five boys.

The crimes

Given an indeterminate prison sentence after he admitted five offences – indecent assault and taking and making indecent photographs – relating to one boy, admitted five charges, including incitement to commit gross indecency and having sexual activity with children and pleaded guilty to 14 charges against another boy, including rape and other sexual assaults. He must serve at least seven years before being considered for parole. The court heard he had several convictions for sex offences, some of which earned him a 12-month prison sentence in 1979.

Police began their investigation when a man reported having been abused by Maxwell as a child when he was a pupil at the school.

Maxwell’s job had included being responsible for the welfare of pupils. He targeted one of his victims when the boy went to him for help after being bullied.

Detective Inspector Nick Coughlan, from the Public Protection Unit of Cumbria Police, said it had been a comprehensive investigation of historical offences.

Officers had identified some victims from the images on Maxwell’s computer. Others came forward after reading about Maxwell’s prosecution in the News & Star.

DI Coughlan said: “It highlights how, through the courage of one victim, others found the confidence to speak about their abuse at the hands of this offender and through the support of our trained officers, victims, who were identified via images, were able to speak about their abuse.

“Maxwell preyed on vulnerable families, some of who had been through traumatic events, to gain access to his victims.”

He added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage any victims who have been abused by any offender to contact the police so we can bring their abusers to justice as well as preventing further innocent victims being abused in the future.

“It doesn’t matter how long ago an offence like this happened. We can still bring cases like this to court.”

Maxwell, of Ridgemount Road, Harraby, was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court for 24 separate counts in all.

Police pointed out that current legislation would now make it highly unlikely that a man with Maxwell’s history could get a job in a school.