June 2015

Wrexham man found guilty of indecent assault in child abuse trial

Neil Phoenix

A Wrexham man has been become the fourth to be convicted by a jury in an historic child abuse trial at Mold Crown Court.

On the seventh day of the jury’s retirement, they found defendant Neil Phoenix, 63, of Windsor Road, New Broughton, Wrexham, guilty of the one charge he faced, indecent assault on a boy at the home of Gary Cooke, who was alleged to have been at the centre of a paedophile ring in the 1980s.

The men were arrested as part of Operation Pallial, a National Crime Agency investigation into allegations of historic sexual abuse.

Phoenix, who denied the charge, was convicted by a 10 to two majority by the jury this afternoon (June 29).

Jury members were then sent home to continue with their deliberations concerning the two remaining defendants, Keith Stokes, aged 62, a former haulier and abattoir manager, from Quarry Hill in Farndon, Chester, and civil servant Edward Julian Huxley, aged 70, from Lower Road, Cookham, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Stokes has already been found not guilty of one charge of indecency with a child.

Last Friday, June 26, retired teacher and former children’s home owner Roger Griffiths, 76, of Coed Efa Lane, New Broughton, Wrexham, was cleared of a charge of indecent assaulton the main complainant after being cleared of another charge a day earlier.

And last Thursday, June 25, former wrestler and Wrexham sex shop owner Mark Grainger, formerly known as Gary Cooke, aged 64, from Galway Road, Leicester, was convicted of 11 charges of indecent assault, three charges of buggery and two charges of indecency with a child.

David Lightfoot, aged 72, a Wrexham publican in the 1980s from Parklands View, Little Sutton, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, was convicted of six charges of indecent assault on a male, two buggery charges, and one attempted buggery. But he was cleared of a charge of indecency with a child.

Former local radio presenter Roy Norry, aged 55, from Hamilton Road, Connah’s Quay, was convicted of five charges of indecent assault on a male, one charge of buggery and was cleared of one charge of attempted buggery and one indecent assault.

Judge Rhys Rowlands last week told members of the jury he is prepared to accept majority verdicts on the remaining charges.