Galway Girl Ed Sheeran
17 December 2012, 16:25
Two men were found guilty today of sexually abusing four young girls over a period of 14 years.
Paul Thomas and Jerry Lee Howe were warned they face jail after a jury at Winchester Crown Court convicted them of 28 offences including rape and indecent assault.
Thomas, 50, of Western Way in Basingstoke was convicted of 25 charges involving four girls. He denied all the counts.
Howe, 40, of Dunnyshop Avenue, Accrington, Lancashire, was found guilty of three counts against one victim, including rape. He also denied all the charges.
The court heard the attacks took place from the mid-1990s and stopped only in 2010. Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said: "The victims were, the Crown say, sexually abused. They were children and some of them very young.''
The barrister said the abuse stopped only when the victims reached 16. She explained that some were very used to the abuse and "they did as they were bid'' as the men attacked them.
The pair abused the victims separately at different times and in different locations, including Hampshire and Lancashire, over the years.
Two other men, Paul Flynn, 30, of Bath Road in Reading, and Timothy Pittway, 49, of Mermaid Close, Winnersh, were acquitted of all child sexual abuse charges against them by the jury.
Thomas was found not guilty of six offences against two victims - one of whom was a boy - and Howe was found not guilty of three charges involving a girl.
The pair were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on January 29.
Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Scott Clarke from Hampshire police said: "These men systematically abused and degraded children to the point where their victims felt their ordeal was just a part of growing up.
"It is down to the courage of these women that these most evil of offenders have been brought to justice. I only hope that with the ordeal that ruined their childhoods finally over, these people can start to rebuild their lives and enjoy their first Christmas free from fear.
"No one should have to experience the childhood that these victims did, one where sexual abuse was an almost daily occurrence.''