August 2015

Businessman fails to get prison sentence for indecent assault on young trainees reduced

Nicholas Holbrook'

A HULL businessman who preyed on vulnerable training recruits in a 25-year reign of abuse has failed in a bid to have his prison sentence cut.

Nicholas Holbrook, 59, was jailed for six and a half years at Hull Crown Court on January 7, after he pleaded guilty during a trial to two counts of indecent assault of a male.

His latest jail term was ordered to run consecutively to a seven-year sentence he was given at the same court in June 2013 for rape and sexual assault.

It meant he was due to serve 13 and a half years behind bars.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker told London’s Court of Appeal how Holbrook was 15 when he showed his first victim, an 11-year-old boy, a book with pictures of naked women in it.

He pushed the boy to the ground, sat on top of him and indecently assaulted him.

Some years later, a 21-year-old man attended a forklift truck driving course at the 59-year-old’s business, Holbrook Training.

Holbrook, formerly of Hartsholme in Kingswood, complimented the apprentice on his driving and showed him a pornographic film in his office.

He then forced the victim to perform a sex act on him.

Mr Justice Baker said these two offences only “came to light” following Holbrook’s conviction in 2013.

Those counts related to two indecent assaults on young victims who had also been undergoing training as forklift truck drivers.

One 17-year-old victim had viewed Holbrook as a “guardian angel” for lending him money and offering employment advice.

But when they met up at the victim’s home, Holbrook forced him onto the bed, held him down and raped him.

The final victim was a man in his early 20s who Holbrook abused after showing him pornography.

Mr Justice Baker said Holbrook’s crimes had a “profoundly detrimental effect” on each of his victims.

Some of them had endured difficulties in socialising and sustaining relationships and others had turned to alcohol and drugs.

Holbrook’s barrister, James Baird, argued that his overall jail term was far too tough.

However, the appeal judge said the offences “took place over a significant period of time and involved four separate individuals”.

In three of the cases, Holbrook had also abused his “position of authority”.

Mr Justice Baker said: “We do not consider the overall sentence can be said to be manifestly excessive.

“On the contrary, we consider it properly reflects Holbrook’s overall criminality arising from these serious sexual offences.”

February 2015

‘My ordeal at hands of serial sex abuser: Victim of jailed attacker speaks out

A MAN has told how he was sexually abused by a “predatory” Hull businessman who has been jailed for a second time.

Michael Wilson was assaulted by Nicholas Holbrook when he was aged between ten and 11.

Mr Wilson kept the abuse secret until he read in the Mail newspaper in 2013 that Holbrook had been jailed for seven years for raping and sexually assaulting two men.

He had abused those victims after they were referred to his business, Holbrook Training, to learn how to drive forklift trucks.

Holbrook, formerly of Hartsholme, Kingswood, stood trial for a second time last month at Hull Crown Court.

But after Mr Wilson gave evidence, Holbrook pleaded guilty to two indecent assaults and was jailed for a further six-and-a-half years.

Mr Wilson has now waived his right to anonymity to tell how the abuse has ruined his life.

He said: “I used to walk down Fountain Road, where there were back-to-back houses, bombed buildings and an old coal yard.

“He told me he wanted something. He abused me.

“I remember there was a bloke walking across the road with a Jack Russell. I ran all the way home.”

Mr Wilson did not report what had happened to police until seeing the Mail’s coverage of Holbrook’s case in 2013.

But the abuse haunted him into adulthood.

“I started drinking. My marriage went,” he said.

When Mr Wilson needed a licence to drive a forklift truck, he says he was sent to Holbrook Training by welfare-to work company A4E while he was on the New Deal employment scheme.

He claims he told the company of Holbrook’s abuse.

Mr Wilson said: “I said I’m not going. He abused me as a young kid.

“They told me you can’t make accusations like that against a pillar of the community. You’ll get your benefits stopped.

“I had a wife and three kids [so had to go].”

After Holbrook’s first trial, it emerged he had indecently assaulted two youths while serving as a sergeant in the Territorial Army in the 1980s, but no criminal charges were brought against him.

“He’s just a bully,” said Mr Wilson. “He caused me to drink and do drugs.”

One of Holbrook’s victims, who was described as vulnerable, treated him as a “father figure”, the court heard, but Holbrook repaid his trust by sexually abusing him.

Another said he was lured to Holbrook’s office on the pretext of a job offer before being attacked.

Both had been assaulted while they were on week-long training courses at Holbrook Training.

At the end of his first trial, police described Holbrook as a “dangerous, predatory man” who targeted vulnerable young men.

Holbrook was not employed by A4E and the agency has not had an office in Hull for more than four years.

A spokesman for A4E said: “We take the safety of our customers very seriously and we are sorry to hear of the ordeal experienced by this gentleman before he joined A4E’s programme.

“The claims relate to an alleged incident from more than 12 years ago about an employment scheme that no longer exists.

“There is no record of this complaint and we have not been informed of any abuse that occurred while customers were on an external training course arranged by us.