January 2009

Gay paedophile lovers abused boys in flat they were allowed to share ‘because of human rights legislation

Two predatory paedophile lovers who abused young boys at their flat were jailed indefinitely today.

Stephen Carruthers, 49, (formerly of York) and John Bates, 45, began their relationship in prison while serving lengthy sentences for similar sex offences.

The authorities were powerless to prevent them living together on their release because of human rights legislation, Preston Crown Court heard.

The pair, who both have a string of paedophile convictions dating back to the early 1980s, met in Strangeways prison in Manchester and then went on to live in Blackpool, Lancashire.

They used enticements of money and boasts of celebrity connections to lure four 14-year-olds to their ground floor flat in Caunce Street in the resort.

Sentencing the pair to indeterminate sentences, Judge Christopher Cornwall said: ‘The simple dreadful reality in this matter in my judgment is you are incorrigible, predatory paedophiles.

‘You simply cannot resist the temptation of making contact with boys with the purpose of abusing them for your own sexual gratification.

‘The harm that you have caused to each of those boys is hard to calculate. What they all have in common is that you were intent on exploiting them and their innocence.

‘You have cast a very dark shadow over their early teens.’

Judge Cornwall added: ‘I have no doubt you pose an extremely high and significant risk of causing very serious harm to other boys in the future, just as you have done on every single occasion you have been released from prison.

‘You are both extremely dangerous. No under-age boy is safe in your company.’

Carruthers was ordered to serve a minimum of five-and-half years in jail before he can be considered for parole after he was convicted of three counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child, grooming and child abduction.

Bates must serve at least four-and-half years for committing three counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child and one of child abduction.

However, the judge said he wanted to ‘make it abundantly clear’ that both were facing lengthy prison terms.

‘I do not expect any application for release to the Parole Board to succeed for a very long time,’ he said.

Both men were disqualified from working with children for life and must not have any unsupervised contact with children.

The Probation Service and police were aware the men – both on the Sex Offenders Register – were living together but could only monitor them.

Even if the couple are eventually released they will still be able to move back in together under current laws.

Richard Howarth, prosecuting, said: ‘The Crown would have wanted an order that the defendants do not reside with each other because it is when they are together they are most dangerous, but I believe that may offend human rights legislation.’

The prosecutors said the pair’s victims were lulled into a false sense of security as they were groomed in a ‘deliberate and expert fashion’.

Two of the boys met Carruthers as he asked them to look after his dogs while he popped into a shop to buy cigarettes.

He was soon offering them small amounts of money to carry out odd jobs in his flat before suggesting he could give them ‘a million pound each’ to satisfy his desires.

They also claimed to be former jockeys who knew many famous people and would show a picture of them apparently posing with Sir David Jason in his role as Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses.

One of the victims had learning difficulties which Carruthers exploited to confuse the boy.

In victim impact statements read to the court, one mother said she had ‘gone through hell’ and that her son was still terrified that the pair would escape from prison.

Another mother said her son had talked of committing suicide and was constantly being teased at school after he told classmates about his ordeal.

Mr Howarth said that boy’s family had moved away because of their predicament to get away from the memories the two men had caused.

Carruthers had a history of sex offending that stretched back to 1981. Bates’s criminal record began in Newcastle in 1983.

Both men sacked their defence teams ahead of giving mitigation today.

Carruthers told the court: ‘My partner and I have been in a relationship for 10 years and in that 10 years together at no time have we got together to plan to abuse any children.’

Both denied all the charges against them but were convicted by a jury at their trial in December.

Outside court, Detective Inspector Tony Baxter, from Blackpool Police’s public protection unit, said: ‘I am extremely happy with the sentence passed on to these dangerous individuals.

‘It sends out a strong message to anyone who commits such offences that when they are caught they will be dealt with robustly by the courts.

‘Carruthers and Bates are clearly dangerous individuals and the public needs to be protected from them.

‘I would like to commend the young victims for their courage in coming forward and the way they gave their evidence under trying circumstances at court.

‘I hope this sentence will be of some comfort to them and their families and I hope that they will grow into successful young men.’

December 1999

York paedophile attached boy in prison room

An urgent change to prison visiting rules was today demanded after a paedophile from York was allowed to assault a ten-year-old boy in a prison visiting room.

Stephen Carruthers, 40, formerly of Wenlock Terrace, is said to have spent 30 minutes with the boy after the serial sex offender’s stepfather smuggled him in under the pretence he was Carruthers’ son.

Father-of-two Carruthers was convicted on Friday at Manchester Crown Court on two charges of rape, two charges of false imprisonment, two of indecent assault on a male and one of indecency with a child at the prison.

Well known in York for molesting young boys in the 1980s, he had convictions against him in 1981, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1991.

Included in his catalogue of shame while living in York are a serious sexual assault on a young boy and a serious sex attack on a mentally handicapped 18-year-old, for which he was jailed.

Fossway resident Ruth Locker, who remembers Carruthers from when he preyed on children in the area, said she was not surprised he had again been convicted.

“I had a young son of my own at the time, and he was never let out of the house,” she said.

“Some people used to feel sorry for Carruthers, but he disgusted me and a lot of other people round here – I would look at him and shudder.”

Mrs Locker added that she felt he should receive the ma ximum possible sentence.

Residents in the Fossway area raised a petition to evict him in 1987 after suspecting him of child abuse, and he was beaten up by three men who alleged he had interfered with their children when he moved to Wenlock Terrace.

He then fled to Manchester, where he was able to keep his appalling record a secret and was free to prey on other youngsters.

The terrified ten-year-old was brought into the visiting room at Strangeways Prison by Carruthers’ stepfather, 79-year-old Gerald Frank. They had duped the guards into believing the boy was Carruthers’ son.

The boy was asked to commit a sex act on Carruthers, but prison staff realised what was happening and stopped the visit.

Frank was convicted of indecency, and will be sentenced along with Carruthers in January.

The court in Manchester heard during the four-week trial how Carruthers raped two brothers aged nine and ten after dragging them off the street.

In one horrific sex attack, Frank held one of the boys prisoner upstairs and indecently assaulted him while the lad’s frantic mother was at the front door asking Carruthers if he had seen her son.

Carruthers often won the sympathy of his victims’ families by lying to them that his wife and two children had been killed in a car crash.

A spokesman for the prison officers at Strangeways denied that Carruthers and the boy had been left alone.

“The prison staff stopped the visit as soon as they realised something was wrong,” he said.

A Prison Service spokesman said their swift actions when they saw the boy sitting on Carruthers’ lap had prevented any further abuse.

He added that children were now vetted to check they were indeed related to prisoners before being allowed to visit.