Man jailed for abusing boys at Shirley Oaks children's home

|News, Sexual offences

A man who sexually assaulted young boys in children's homes in the 1970s and 1980s has been jailed for eight years.

Patrick Grant, 69, was convicted of eight counts of indecent assault on three victims at Fircroft Children's Home in Surbiton, Rowan House - a Shirley Oaks Children's Home in South Norwood, and Walker House in Cardiff, South Wales.

He had been working at these residential homes at the time of the offences and was often called the 'house father'. His victims were able to identify him by his distinctive appearance, interest in playing the piano and by name.

Co-defendant Philip Collins, 73, was convicted of five counts of indecent assault on one victim with the offences taking place at Fircroft following a trial. At the time he had been working as the head of the centre and had been a part-time special police constable based at Esher police station. Collins will be sentenced on 23 April at Inner London Crown Court.

Collins had also previously been convicted of committing similar offences against other children under his care at different homes - these convictions were used as supporting evidence during the trial.

Collins' victim remembered he would wear a hand full of gold rings, and the police investigation uncovered numerous home videos that showed this - despite Collins claiming that he only ever wore a gold wedding band.

On one occasion Collins and Grant sexually assaulted a young victim together in the bathroom at Fircroft Children's Home where they both worked. During this incident Grant had been sexually assaulting the boy when Collins walked in - instead of protecting the victim, he joined in. The victim said he would tell others what had been happening; but together Grant and Collins ridiculed him and told him that no one would ever believe him.

Today [Thursday, 11 April] at Inner London Crown Court, Grant was sentenced to eight years in jail and Collins will be sentenced at a later date. They were convicted following a trial at Inner London Crown Court, which concluded in February.

Patricia Strobino, from the CPS, 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 by those they should have been able to trust. I hope this outcome offers a degree of closure, enabling them each to 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 others who had 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."

Notes to editors

  • Patricia Strobino is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit in CPS London South.
  • Patrick Grant [DOB: 29.07.1949] is from Wales. He was convicted of:
    • Indecent assault in 1976-77 at Fircroft
    • Indecent assault in 1976-77 at Fircroft
    • Indecent assault in 1976-77 at Fircroft
    • Indecent assault in 1977-78 at Rowan House
    • Indecent assault in 1977-78 at Rowan House
    • Indecent assault in 1987-89 at Walker House, LLanishen, Cardiff
    • Indecent assault in 1987-89 at Walker House, LLanishen, Cardiff
    • Indecent assault in 1987-89 at Walker House, LLanishen, Cardiff
  • Phillip Collins [DOB: 01.01.1946] is from Sutton. He was convicted of:
    • Indecent assault in 1976-78 at Fircroft
    • Indecent assault in 1976-78 at Fircroft
    • Indecent assault in 1976-77 at Fircroft
    • Indecent assault in 1976-78 at Fircroft
    • Indecent assault in 1976-77 at Fircroft

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