John Webber, owner of both the Kingsforth Children’s Home and the Old Rectory Children’s Home, was sentenced this week, to 32 years in prison after being convicted of 26 historic sex offences involving the abuse of seven boys, believed to be between the ages of 9 and 15 years old.
The retired owner of the children’s homes was found guilty of 19 charges of indecent assault on a male person, two charges of indecency with a child, three of serious sexual assault and two of attempted serious sexual assault. His co-conspirator, Don Grasty, who managed the Old Rectory Children’s Home, faced 14 charges which included 10 indecent assaults, three of gross indecency and one of serious sexual assault but Mr Grasty passed away before the trial began. These acts were alleged to have been committed against five boys, two of which were said to be victims of both men.
The incidents took place between 1974 and 1983 at both children’s homes, which have since been closed down. It has been reiterated since by the Police that any management or occupants of the address since this time have no connection with the case.
Many survivors of child abuse are unaware that they are still able to seek criminal prosecutions of their abuser(s), despite the delay in time since the incidents took place. Yesterday’s sentencing should give hope to these people around the country, that they may still be able to get justice for the atrocities that they have been through.
A criminal conviction is not always required to bring a claim of compensation against the perpetrators of abuse. Indeed, we have vast experience of supporting survivors of historic abuse in cases where there has been no criminal conviction of the accused.
Hopefully though, this sentencing will allow the children who were at these children’s homes to gain some degree of justice for what they have been subjected to.