Former boarding school 'housefather', 73, jailed for multiple sex offences against children
A 73-year-old man has been jailed for 27 years for non-recent sexual offences against children at a former boarding school in the West Midlands in the 1960s and 70s.
Keith Figes, aged 73, of Breach Close in Bourton, Dorset, was sentenced on Tuesdayat Worcester Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to 11 counts - six of which are specimen offences.
A specimen charge can be made when an individual has been charged with numerous violations of the same offence.
A second man, Maurice Lambell, 69, of Platt Fold Street, in Wigan, was also due to be sentenced but failed to attend court.
A warrant was issued and he has now been arrested and is in custody. A revised date for his sentencing has not yet been sent.
The offences took place between 1966 and 1974 at Berrow Wood School in the village of Pendock, on the border of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
The school housed boys aged 10 to 18, many of which were considered to have behavioural or learning difficulties.
Figes and Lambell were both ‘housefathers’ at the school, entrusted with the care and welfare of the children.
Det Insp Mark Walters, Senior Investigating Officer at West Mercia Police, said: “I welcome Figes’ sentence and am pleased that justice has finally been done for the survivors of his institutionalised abuse.
“Both Lambell and Figes abused their positions of trust to commit abhorrent crimes against young and vulnerable boys who they were supposed to be caring for.
“I’d like to commend the victims for the courage they’ve shown in coming forward and the way they have conducted themselves throughout the trial and sentencing.
“The abuse has had long-lasting effects on their mental and physical health and the trauma caused by Lambell and Figes is something which will live with them forever.
“Unfortunately, the convictions came too late for two victims, who sadly died before they got to see justice done. Our thoughts remain with their family and friends."
He added: “I would urge anyone who has been a victim of non-recent child sexual abuse to come forward and talk to police. You will be listened to and your experiences will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.”
If a victim or survivor reported allegations of child sexual offences before June 5, 2013, and the police or the CPS decided that no further action should be taken at the time, they can request that the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel reconsider the decision, if they are not satisfied that the original allegations were dealt with appropriately.
CSARP is a joint enterprise between the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Further information is available at cps.gov.uk/child-sexual-abuse-review-panel
If you’ve been affected by child sexual abuse then local support is available from the Victim Advice Line, a free and confidential service offering advice, practical help and emotional support to people affected by crime, regardless how long ago it happened or whether it has been reported to the police.
Support is available by phone on 0800 9523000, via email at email@example.com and through live chat on victimadviceline.org.uk