Man jailed for sex abuse in South Norwood Shirley Oaks children’s home

Katherine Johnston (15 April, 2019) Crime In the Dock

'This case is a culmination of years of intensive police and prosecution work'

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A man who sexually abused young boys in children’s homes throughout the 1970s and 80s – including South Norwood’s Rowan House – has been jailed for eight years.

Sixty-nine-year-old Patrick Grant (b. 29.07.1949) from Wales, was convicted of eight counts of indecent assault from his time working in three residential homes across the UK: Rowan House, a Shirley Oaks home in South Norwood, Fircroft in Surbiton and Walker House in Cardiff.

He had been working at these residential homes at the time of the offences and was often called the ‘house father’, the court was told.

His victims were able to identify him by his distinctive appearance, interest in playing the piano and by name, the prosecution said.

Also on trial was his co-defendant, 73-year-old Phillip Collins, from Sutton (b. 01.01.1946), with whom Grant had worked at Esher’s Fircroft home.

Collins has previously been convicted of other, similar offences against children in his care – past convictions used in this trial as supporting evidence.

Collins, who had been head of Fircroft home and a part-time special police constable based at Esher police station, was convicted of five counts of indecent assault on one victim at Fircroft.

In one particularly harrowing incident, Collins had walked into a room and found Grant abusing a boy, but instead of protecting him, he joined in.

When the boy said he would tell others what was happening, his abusers ridiculed him and said no one would believe him.

On Thursday, April 11, Grant was sentenced to eight years behind bars after a trial at Inner London Crown Court in February. Collins will be sentenced on April 23.

Patricia Strobino, the Crown Prosecution Service’s senior crown prosecutor within London South’s rape and serious sexual offences unit, said: “This has been a long and difficult trial for all those involved – particularly the victims who had been accused of making the abuse up all this time.

“They showed immense resolve and courage by coming to court to give evidence and standing up to their abusers.

“These crimes have had a long-term negative impact on the lives of the victims.

“They were let down by those in authority and those they should have been able to trust.

“I hope this outcome offers a degree of closure, enabling them to each begin the process of rebuilding their lives.

“Grant and Collins committed the ultimate abuse of position.

“They were supposed to provide care for some of the most vulnerable children, including those with special needs and those with no family support.

“Instead of keeping them safe in these children’s homes, Grant and Collins together, and individually, systematically targeted and groomed children causing them significant harm.

“This case is a culmination of years of intensive police and prosecution work and I am pleased that justice has finally been served for the victims.”

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