November 2017

Paedophile scout leader from Islington who sexually abused boy on camp is jailed for 10 years

A scout leader who sexually abused two boys, assaulting one of them in a field on camp, has today been jailed for 10 years.

Ian Barker, of Queen’s Head Street, Islington, initially denied eight charges of sexual assault dating back to the late 1970s and 1980s, but changed his plea yesterday, the third day of his trial.

He admitted six of the charges: one count of indecent assault with penetration on a boy aged under 14, one count of indecent assault on a boy aged under 14, and four counts of indecency with children

The abuse included taking one scout into a field while on camp and making him pose naked, and on another occasion penetrating him.

He also made him pose naked in a cupboard during a group meet at All Hallows in Savernake Road, Hampstead.

Barker, now 56, was in his late teens when the abuse began, and the victims were under 14. The first victim gave evidence in court on Tuesday after jurors had watched a video of his police interview.

In it, he talked about being led into a field by Barker when the other boys were in bed on a camp, he said: “I just couldn’t understand why these actions were anything to do with working towards merit badges.

“He asked me to adopt a particular pose to give him sight of me – leaning over to show him by behind and in another one I was leaning back giving him full sight of my groin area.”

The victim said he remembered telling Barker he was cold and being told to go back to his tent and not speak about what had happened.

But the second time, he said, he was raped. Barker had been charged with buggery, but pleaded guilty to the alternative charge of indecent assault with penetration.

“I remember him putting his hand over my mouth,” the victim recalled. “And I remember being asked to bend over. I remember him breathing heavily and feeling pain in between my buttocks. It lasted three or four minutes. I remember him withdrawing and I remember being told to pull my pants up and not talk about it again.”

The next morning, when parents came to pick up their children, prizes were given out for achievements. The victim said Barker singled him out for a prize.

He said: “I thought to myself: ‘This is wrong.’ I felt incredibly ashamed and embarrassed and wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.”

Jurors heard after he told his parents about some of the abuse, but not the rape, they went to scout leaders – and were assured Barker would not be allowed to work in the organisation again.

Giving evidence in court, from behind a screen, the victim broke down while recalling the abuse. He said he had been in therapy for decades because it had left him struggling with intimacy.

He came forward after watching a news piece about a solicitor offering to help victims of child abuse within the scouts.

When asked by Barker’s lawyer Rose Burns why he waited until 2014 to do so, he said: “There’s a number of reasons. Abuse is incredibly traumatic, I am trying to be as detailed as I can about events I have had to repress to deal with.

“I was silenced by the defendant and told never to talk about it and my parents’ response was to tell me not to talk about it.

“I found myself watching a news report and I thought: that’s me.

“Despite having therapy for 40 years, despite being silenced for 40 years I had to try very hard to compose myself when I reported it.”

Asked specifically whether his therapists had ever encouraged him to tell police about what happened, the victim said: “When these things happen to you, you can’t deal with them. You repress them. It’s taken me 40 years to report it knowing full well there would be consequences.

“This is on the edge for me. The justice system requires that witnesses give clarity, give total corroboration.

“But if the crime is so traumatic the witness can’t give evidence the whole justice system is scuppered. Child sexual abuse is so very, very damaging. So suggesting to me I should have reported it to police – yes, I should have. But I haven’t been in a position in my life to be strong enough. Because I was so traumatised and I was silenced.”

He also told the court Barker would play hide and seek and observation games with the scouts in the church hall.

“He used to get us to swap items of clothing,” he said. “So he could supposedly develop our powers of observation.

“I now know that that was just an excuse to take our clothes off. It was just a preamble to get us comfortable hiding in the church and taking our clothes off in front of him.

“There was always some excuse about developing skills. Always to do with some sort of merit badge.”

Barker was arrested in May 2015 and denied the allegations when he was interviewed. Following a lengthy investigation, involving extensive historic records checks and engagement with witnesses, a second victim who attended the same scout troupe was identified.