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In the 1980’s, Coventry City Council were responsible for a children’s home called Westeria Lodge. Following disclosures that were made in the 1990’s, the Police and local Council have now admitted failing victims who resided there which resulted in the continuance of systematic abuse of other resident children over the years.
Children’s homes are deemed to be a place of safety for children who are exposed to abuse and harm; they are not places that professionals allow children to be abused in.
In 2012, Sarah began a complaint against the Police for the way that they handled the investigation, following her disclosure of abuse at Wisteria Lodge in 1999.
Sarah has changed her name but waived her right to anonymity and she has now shown the BBC, a written report from the force’s professional standards team. They responded to the way the initial investigation was conducted by saying, it had been "poorly managed and poorly supervised". It said if named witnesses had been traced, the likelihood of a prosecution against one or both of the now-deceased suspects "may have been more positive".
Sarah was physically, mentally and psychologically abused by two former workers, Kenneth Owen and Alan Todd, both 70 years old.
Sarah openly describes her younger self as being a “challenging child” and recalls how she would regularly question the acts committed against her, "I was 12 years old... [I thought], 'how are they getting away with this'? 'Why aren't other people stopping this'?"
Warwick Crown Court convicted and sentenced Owen to four years and four months after being found guilty of five cruelty charges.
Todd who had sexually assaulted a 15 year old boy and taunted one vegetarian victim with a dead rabbit, received six convictions of indecent assault and five offences of cruelty. He was given a sentence of eight years and two months.
Todd was cleared of five other child cruelty charges and jurors were unable to decide on another, which will lie on file. He was also found not guilty of three counts of rape and two indecent assaults.
Five other men were cleared over their alleged part of the abuse at Wisteria Lodge.
West Midlands Police admit that they did not properly investigate the victims account of sexual abuse at the children’s home.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for such reports to reach our national newspapers. However, it is important that those suffering sexual abuse to be allowed to get justice for the abuse they endure.
Our team led by Natalie Marrison have extensive experience supporting claims for compensation of adult and child abuse. For a completely confidential discussion please contact the Ramsdens Abuse team on 0113 8871 834.