Former employees of Wetherby residential school sentenced to 46 years for sex offences


Roy Allen and Roy Lovatt, former members of staff at Thorpe Arch Grange residential school near Wetherby, have been sentenced to 46 years in prison at Leeds Crown Court today (8 February). The offending included 19 sex offences against five young boys who were resident at the school in the 1970s and 80s.

Roy Lovatt pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 25 sexual offences against four other victims, in a separate case.  He was sentenced today to 12 years for those offences, making a total of 28 years' imprisonment.

Roy Allen was sentenced to 18 years for abusing young boys at the school.

Caroline May, from the CPS, said: "These vulnerable young boys were in need of compassion, care and support, but Thorpe Arch Grange was not a place of safety for them. Whilst some members of staff were undoubtedly dedicated to their work, others were sexual predators who used violence and fear as a means of control over the boys.

"They abused their positions of authority and responsibility to sexually assault, and in the most extreme instances, to rape, the children in their care.

"Far from being caring professionals, these two men were cynical sex offenders. Attitudes were very different in the 70s and 80s and these defendants deliberately sought out contact with vulnerable children, relying on the fact that they, as adults, would be believed should the children ever complain. It is hard to imagine a greater abuse of trust.

"Despite the traumatic abuse they endured at Thorpe Arch Grange, the victims have demonstrated considerable bravery in coming forward and giving evidence in this case, enabling us to work with West Yorkshire Police to bring a strong prosecution case against their abusers.

"I hope the sentences imposed today are of some comfort to their victims and our thoughts remain with them."

Anthony Poles, Paul Schoon, and Mark Wyllie were found not guilty of the charges against them.


  1. Caroline May is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in CPS Yorkshire and Humberside's Complex Casework Unit.
  2. Charges and verdicts:
    • Roy Allen: Guilty 9 x indecent assault, Guilty 2 x buggery, Guilty 1 x attempted buggery, Not guilty 2 x indecent assault.
    • Roy Lovatt: Guilty 5 x buggery, Guilty 4 x indecent assault. Not guilty 1 x buggery. Additionally Lovatt pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing in a separate case involving 25 sexual offences against four victims (19 x indecent assault on three male victims, 2 x gross indecency on a male victim and 4 x indecent assault on a female victim.)
    • Paul Schoon: Found not guilty of 8 x indecent assault and 2 x buggery
    • Mark Wyllie: Found not guilty of 1 x indecent assault
    • Anthony Poles: Found not guilty of 7 x indecent assault and 1 x buggery