November 1993

Social worker jailed for sex attacks on boys


A FORMER social worker who sexually assaulted a string of boys while they were in council care was jailed for seven years yesterday at Knutsford Crown Court, Cheshire.

Sentencing Stephen Roderick Norris, 57, Judge Gareth Edwards told him: ‘In your life you have done an indescribable amount of evil and no excuse is adequate and no penalty commensurate with the harm done to your victims. Indeed, you may have left behind you, after your life is over, a foul legacy that will live on for generations.’

Judge Edwards said there could be no criticism of the authorities for employing him; someone with his predelictions would always slip through the net. ‘What I find disturbing is how you were able to get away with it for so long and were advanced to positions of seniority which put them in your power.’

The offences were committed against boys aged between 10 and 14, a decade ago, when he was senior house master at Bryn Estyn Childrens Home, in Wrexham, Clwyd, which closed in 1984. They came to light during an internal investigation by Clwyd County Council after Norris had been sentenced to three- and-a-half years in prison, in June 1990, for similar offences against boys in Cartrefle Children’s Home, at Broughton, where he was house master. He was released from prison in January.

The court was told Norris assaulted the boys in the children’s home, at his family home at Afonwen, near Mold, in a staff flat and a friend’s house. Often he took the boys to the Sportsman’s Arms, Afonwen, where he bought them beer or shandy. Other boys were rewarded with tobacco and extra privileges, such as being given their own room where some of the offences were later committed.

Norris pleaded guilty to four specimen charges of buggery and three indecent assaults.

Maurice Kay QC, for the defence, said Norris had lost everything including his home, and his marriage had broken down.

Three other cases are pending as the result of a police investigation following the internal inquiry by Clwyd council.

John Jevons, the council’s director of social services since 1991, said after the case that procedures to recruit staff, and to detect abuse, had been improved.