July 2017

Former Catford teacher further convicted of historic child sex offences

A former Catford teacher has been further convicted of non-recent child abuse offences he committed in the 1970s.

Harvey Franks, 76, pleaded guilty to three further offences of gross indecency with a boy under the age of 14 years of age in the 1970s at Croydon Crown Court.

He is already serving 15 years’ imprisonment for rape and sexual assault offences against young boys.

On Friday, July 7 he was sentenced to another two years’ imprisonment.

The victim came to police in March last year and reported that Franks, who was a teacher at Sedgehill Secondary School in Catford, had abused him multiple times for around 12 months when the victim was 11 years old.

An investigation by one of the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation teams then began and on April 6 last year Franks was arrested and was bailed before being charged on Wednesday, May 3.

The court heard that at the time of the investigation, Franks was already facing trial for other non-recent offences of sexual abuse for which he was subsequently convicted of, and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in August.

His new sentence will run consecutively.

August 2016

Paedophile ex-teacher and football referee jailed for sexually assaulting boys

An ex-teacher and former football referee from Bromley has been jailed for historical sex abuse against two teenage boys.

Harvey Franks, of Fontwell Drive, was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court yesterday (August 2) to 15 years in prison.

The 75-year-old was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault – one from the 1970s and one from the 1990s.

He already served 13 months in prison for indecent assault on a teenage boy, for which he went on trial in 2000.

The court heard Franks raped a young boy in the late 1990s when the victim was around 14 or 15 years of age and enrolled on a referee course.

Addressing Franks in court, Judge Adam Hiddleston said: “When he came to give you the money his mother had given him for the course you told him to keep it.

“As his exam approached you suggested he should come to your house for extra tuition.

“He and his mother confirmed he was dropped off.

“You pushed him forcefully down on the table, pulled down his trousers and underwear and raped him.

“Afterwards you carried on as though nothing had happened – and perhaps to you it was something of little consequence.

“This breach of trust was truly appalling.

“You abused your position to satisfy your sexual desires and you never had the decency to recognise your appalling actions.”

He added: “His mother entrusted his welfare to you and she had delivered him right to you.

“This one event resulted in him going in and out of psychiatric institutions and attempts at taking his own life.

“He lost contact from his family, he drifted into a life of substance misuse and crime, all of which he left firmly at the door of that event on that one night.”

Speaking anonymously, the victim revealed his relief at the sentencing.

He said: “He ruined my football career – and I guess he’s ruined quite a few lives.

“The sentence is longer than I expected and that’s a relief – the point is that he can’t do it to anyone else.

“He’s got what he deserves – he is not a nice bloke.”

He added he wants to encourage any other victims of historical abuse to come forward.

He said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 years ago or two years ago or 20 – it’s about taking back control from that person who has done that to you.

“For 15 years I thought no one would believe what he had done.

“I probably wasn’t believed for a long time – not that I told many people – for a bloke it’s hard.

“It’s hard for men to talk about, you think ‘why did I let him do it?’

“But it’s a lot different now because you’re believed straight away.

“But even if you don’t get the verdict you want, you can live better with yourself afterwards.

“At least then you have done everything you can do.”

In the other count of assault from the 1970s, the court heard another teenage boy awoke during the night to find Franks abusing him.

If the police hadn’t contacted him decades later to ask him about Franks, he never would have mentioned the incident again, the court heard.

Defending Franks, James Manning pleaded for leniency from the judge.

He said: “He hasn’t committed any offences since [his conviction in 2000], this shows he is reformed.

“He has had an operation on his prostate which has left him suffering with impotence.

“He is no longer a threat to the public.”

Judge Hiddleston told the court Franks’s denial of both counts led to a humiliating cross-examination in which one of the victims was forced to reveal his past criminal behaviour and history of substance abuse.

He said: “You exhibited not one shred of remorse, even at times smirking and laughing while they were giving their evidence.

“You said you were a fully heterosexual male with no interest in any sexual act with teenage boys.

“It is clear you have harboured a sexual interest in teenage boys throughout your life.

“The primary feature of both offences is the use by you of your position of trust to abuse – either as a teacher or as a mentor.”

A jury found Franks guilty of the two counts of indecent assault and acquitted him of five other charges on July 11 and 12, also at Croydon Crown Court.

March 2007

Suspended FA referee appears in court

A retired schoolteacher with a conviction for indecently assaulting a boy of 15, changed his name so he could referee youth football matches, a court heard.

Harvey Franks, of Fontwell Drive, Bromley, pleaded guilty to a obtaining a pecuniary advantage at Croydon Crown Court yesterday.

The 66-year-old was convicted of indecent assault in 2000 and was jailed for 30 months for an offence against a boy who was taking extra French lessons outside of school hours.

Up til then, Franks had been registered as a referee with the FA, but was supended shortly afterwards.

Miss Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told the court: “He agreed not to participate in football matches where the players were under 18.

“In July 2002 he was permanently barred and his appeal against the decision was dismissed.

“It came to the FA’s notice that he had breached the suspension order on a number of occasions.”

The FA reported Franks to the police in February 2004 as he was still refereeing youth teams.

Franks had been spotted at a pitch in Copers Cope Road, Beckenham on October 4 last year, wandering around in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, wearing a badge.

He went to the pavilion and was seen later refereeing a match in which boys of Lewisham College were playing.

It emerged he had been paid £25 a time to referee games for the college and had been calling himself Bob Barber.

He had also been spotted in Bexley.

When he was arrested, Franks said he had not realised the college was affiliated to the FA.

Ordering him to carry out 60 hours unpaid work, Judge Warwick McKinnon told Franks: “The root of this case is the fear that, by reason of the serious sexual conviction in 2000, you may commit a further sexual offence by your continued association with males under the age of 18.”

But the judge added there was no evidence Franks had had any further sexual involvement with young people.

Franks also admitted a charge of failing to notify the Sex Offenders’ Register of a change of name.