July 2016

Former Warwickshire special constable jailed for indecently assaulting homeless teenage boy


A former Warwickshire Police special constable has been jailed for three years for indecently assaulting a homeless 15-year-old boy in 2002.

Ronald Potter, of Tippers Lane, Fillongley, near Coventry, was arrested during an investigation into the abuse of another boy, aged 14, by nine other men.

He denied the charges but was convicted by a jury at Warwick Crown Court.

Jailing Potter, Judge Sylvia de Bertadano told him: “He was a young man you met when he was 14 or 15 and you were in your mid-60s.

“He was at a low point in his life and sleeping on the streets.

“You repeatedly engaged in sex with him. It was far more than a relationship of client and prostitute. You would give him money and take him out for meals.

“But this was not an adult, it was a 15-year-old boy, and that amounts to grooming.”

Potter was ordered to register as a sex offender for life, and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order banning him from having any contact with the two victims.

The nine other men, from Birmingham, the Black Country, Stoke-on-Trent and London, were jailed for a total of more than 68 years for sexually abusing the other boy who turned to male prostitution after running away from a children’s home when he was just 14.

The victim was subjected to a series of sordid sex attacks, some of which were streamed live on the internet.

The victim, who complained to West Midlands Police in 2009 and 2010, had been let down by the authorities, according to the trial judge.

She said: “The victim complained to the police very early on, but his complaints were not followed up.

“When he complained he found he was sent to a secure care home which he hated.”

The victim, who had felt aggrieved and confused at his initial treatment by the authorities, had shown “incredible courage” in giving evidence after making a further complaint to the police in 2012, Judge de Bertadano said.

May 2016

Retired special constable convicted of indecently assaulting boy

A former Special Constable from a village near Coventry has been convicted of two indecent assaults against a boy – but cleared of raping another.

Ronald Potter, aged 78 and from Tippers Lane, Fillongley, had been on trial at Warwick Crown Court alongside nine other men.

Today, after three months of evidence, Potter was convicted of two offences against one boy in 2001 and 2002 but cleared of raping and sexually assaulting another teenage boy.

Eight others were convicted of committing sexual offences against the teenager, who was subjected to a “horrifying” catalogue of abuse while in council care.

The court was told the teenager was raped and repeatedly sold for sex in Birmingham’s red light district during 2009 and 2010.

Jurors deliberated for more than 30 hours before convicting the defendants from the West Midlands, London and Stoke-on-Trent of offences involving the boy.

A ninth man was cleared by the jury of committing offences against the teenager but had previously admitted facilitating child prostitution in relation to the victim.

The trial heard that the victim who was in local authority care was left “traumatised” by the offences against him, which began in his early teens.

Opening the case against the defendants in February, prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC said the complainant, now aged in his early 20s, was first spoken to by police in 2009.

Ms Cottage said of the victim: “Regrettably his contemporaneous complaints were not fully investigated by West Midlands Police in 2009 and 2010.”

But during a subsequent inquiry in 2012, the teenager, who cannot be identified, was able to point police towards those involved in his alleged exploitation.

The youngster – who was sold “like goods” in Birmingham city centre – had a troubled family background and absconded from a care home in the Midlands for a number of days, the court heard.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano warned the 10 men convicted of offences that they will face terms of imprisonment when they are sentenced on July 1.

The nine others who were found guilty were :

Robert Bailey, 27, of Watt Road, Erdington, Birmingham. He was found guilty of arranging or facilitating child prostitution, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, sexual activity with a child, and making indecent photographs. He was cleared of rape.

Michael Godbold, 57, of Uxbridge Rd, Shepherd’s Bush, London, was acquitted of two counts of rape but convicted of sexual activity with a child, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, arranging or facilitating child prostitution, and possession of controlled drugs. As he was led away to the cells, Godbold shouted: “I am not guilty of half these charges.” Judge de Bertodano responded: “That’s something you can discuss with your barrister.”

Tahir Hussain, 34, of St Josephs Road, Ward End, Birmingham, was cleared of 15 charges, including trafficking for sexual exploitation, but found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child.

Peter Joynes, 58, of Canberra Way, Highgate, Birmingham, was convicted of arranging or facilitating child prostitution and sexual activity with a child.

Stephen Kelly, of Elm Road, Bournville, Birmingham, was found guilty of two counts of arranging or facilitating child prostitution and one of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child. The 39-year-old was cleared on three other charges. Kelly was told by the judge that a prison sentence in his case is inevitable.

Ian Prestleton, of High Haden Road, Cradley Heath, West Midlands, was found guilty of sexual activity with a child but cleared of rape. The 54-year-old was told a custodial sentence is the “almost inevitable outcome” when he answers bail in July.

Alan Priest, 63, of Mucklow Hill, Halesowen, West Midlands, was convicted of two rapes and one count of sexual activity with a child.

Ashley Sherrington, 25, of Dawlish Drive, Stoke-on-Trent, was convicted of two counts of rape. The trial judge remanded Sherrington in custody and warned him: “You have been convicted of very serious offences, the result of which will be a lengthy term of imprisonment.”

Kevin Tudor, 55, of no fixed address, was cleared by the jury on four charges, including three rapes, but had previously pleaded guilty two counts of sexual activity with a child and facilitating prostitution.