21 people convicted in West Midlands child sex abuse investigation

Seven victims, aged up to 12, were abused over nearly a decade in the Walsall and Wolverhampton areas.

The offenses first came to light after one of the victims was admitted to hospital with a suspicious injury, and a protection referral was made by doctors, West Midlands Police said.

After several trials, the latest of which concluded this month, 13 people have been jailed and four others await sentencing.

Child sexual abuse case
Ann Marie Clare (West Midlands Police)

In the first trial, which concluded in May 2022, Mark Smith, 34, was sentenced to 19 years in prison with an extended license period of six years after being found guilty of four counts of child sexual abuse, while James Evans, 38, was jailed for life in prison with a minimum sentence of 18 years after being convicted of 20 counts of sexual assault.

The second trial concluded in February 2023 in which nine people were convicted, including Tracey Baker, 41, who was jailed for 16 years for five offenses related to child sexual abuse, and David Baker, 41, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison, including one year. on leave for seven counts of child sexual abuse.

The prison sentences imposed ranged from 28 months to life imprisonment, while four of those convicted received non-custodial sentences.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Drover, of West Midlands Police, said a large team of officers had investigated for more than half a decade and uncovered what he called “systematic abuse that must be some of the most shocking I have seen in my career. “.

“Our investigation became one of the largest investigations in the West Midlands into child sexual abuse,” he added.

Drover said: “Seventy interviews were conducted and we heard a large number of disclosures made by the children involved.

“We had the support of specialists from the National Crime Agency detectives, disclosure and exhibition specialists, in addition to all the support of colleagues from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), social care from local authorities, health services child mental health and services.

Child sexual abuse case
James Evans (West Midlands Police)

It added that the Walsall Child Safeguarding Board was coordinating a report on what had occurred and understanding how it happened, as well as “lessons to be learned”, and was expected to be published in due course.

“They are looking at what happened and for how long,” Drover said.

The trial process was delayed by the impact of the Covid pandemic, the senior police official added.

Drover praised the victims, some of whom are now adults, for stepping up and allowing the perpetrators to be brought to justice, saying they had suffered “shocking and abhorrent” abuse.

“They have been through a significant amount of trauma,” he said, adding that “it has had a significant and ongoing impact on their physical and mental well-being.”

“Getting the confidence to come forward and talk to health professionals, to the police is huge,” he said.

“I am genuinely grateful, and also to the juries involved in this.

“Child protection is at the forefront of the police, of (health workers), of school teachers, this to me is a perfect example of how we work together to bring a significant case to the stage where… ( criminals) will be found. guilty of significant crimes and receive sentences of up to life imprisonment.

“This is a request from me, so that those subjected to sexual harm have the confidence to come forward, talk to teachers, nurses and doctors, police officers, tell us what is happening.

“We spent several years on this investigation and continued to run it until we reached the conclusion that we have seen.

“So I hope this gives them (those victims) some confidence to come forward and talk to professionals.”

Child sexual abuse case
Jason Evans (West Midlands Police)

Joanne Jakymec, CPS Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: “The offenders in this case perpetrated the most egregious catalog of sexual abuse of the utmost severity, causing the victims extreme physical harm and psychological harm.

“With the exception of one of the criminals who admitted what he had done, none of the others have shown the slightest remorse.”

He praised the “courage” of the victims and witnesses, adding that “without their support it would not have been possible for the prosecution team to convict this large network of child molesters.”

Those convicted in the trials were:

– James Evans, 38, who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years and received an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) after being convicted of 20 child sex offenses.

– Kirsty Webb, 36, who was jailed for 10 years, has been granted an indefinite restraining order in respect of victims and a 30-year SHPO after being found guilty of five sex crimes against children.

– Mark Smith, 34, jailed for 19 years with an extended license period of six years, making a total of 25 years, for four child sex offenses. He was also served with a 30-year SHPO and an indefinite restraining order regarding the victims.

– Pamela Howells, 58, was jailed for seven years for three child sex offenses and also received a 15-year SHPO order and an indefinite restraining order.

– Lee Webb, 40, was convicted of three child sex offenses and jailed for six years with a 30-year SHPO and an indefinite restraining order

– Ann Marie Clare, 43, was jailed for eight years for four child sex offences, with an extended license period of three years for 11 years in total. She was also given a SHPO for 30 years and an indefinite restraining order.

– Dean Webb, 35, was found unfit to plead guilty, but a jury found he had committed the alleged acts. He was given a two-year supervision order and a 40-year SHPO.

– Stephen Webb, 65, was also found unfit to plead guilty, but the jury found that he had committed the alleged acts. He was completely discharged for health reasons

– Natasha Webb, 37, will be sentenced at a later date. She testified for the Crown in all three trials.

– Tracey Baker, 41, was convicted of five counts of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 16 years in prison and was issued an SHPO and a restraining order, both until further notice.

– David Baker, 41, was convicted of seven child sex offenses and sentenced to 21 years in prison, including one year on leave, as well as an indefinite SHPO and indefinite restraining order.

– Luke Baker, 22, was jailed for two years and four months for two child sex offenses and also received a restraining order until further notice and a 15-year SHPO.

– David Evans, 72, was jailed for three and a half years for two offenses and given indefinite restraining orders and SHPO

– Jane Evans, 71, was found unfit to plead guilty, but a jury found she committed the alleged acts. She was sentenced to a surveillance warrant and a SHPO

– Philip Wellington, 50, was found guilty of three sex offenses against children and was acclaimed for nine years and received an SHPO and a restraining order, both until further notice.

– Natalie Wellington, 44, was convicted of four child sex offenses and jailed for 17 years, including an additional year on extended leave, along with an indefinite restraining order and indefinite SHPO.

– Jason Evans, 25, was convicted of three counts and sentenced to two years and six months, a restraining order until further notice, and a 15-year SHPO.

– Ryan Evans, 23, was convicted of a child sex offense and sentenced to a three-year community order, a restraining order and a 15-year SHPO.

– Matthew Evans, 32, will be sentenced in May after being found guilty of two child sex offenses

– John Griffiths, 66, was found guilty of two child sex offenses and will be sentenced in May

– Violet Griffiths, 66, will be sentenced in May after being convicted of two child sex offences.

Source

Leave a Reply