September 1999

Care worker jailed for child abuse 

A care worker at a South Wales children’s home has been jailed for seven years for 15 sex attacks.

Cardiff Crown Court heard father-of-three Cyril Samuels was arrested as part of the massive police investigation called Operation Goldfinch into abuse in children’s home

Samuels was employed for five years at the Headlands National Children’s Home in Penarth between 1969 and 1974.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how the six boys, aged between 10 and 15, only came forward during the last 18 months.

Prosecutor Roger Thomas QC told the jury that Samuels, aged 66, took advantage of the boys when they were vulnerable and needed help.

He said: “At a time when the children were young and needed guidance, Samuels sexually assaulted them.

“He was appointed to look after them but assaulted them instead. The boys deserved and expected better from him.

“We do not pretend that the young boys were naive. No doubt they could be devious and deceitful.

“But does not excuse or justify what happened to them.”

The trial is linked to Operation Goldfinch, a detailed investigation into child abuse at children’s homes across South Wales.

Samuels moved to the approved school in 1969 with his wife, two young daughters and a son.

Bible quotes

But the jury heard that behind the facade of a happy family, Samuels was corrupting children and seducing them.

Mr Thomas QC added: “He had a facade of moral probity and would quote the Bible as justification for assaulting the children.

“He told one victim he was a preacher at his local church and reassured the boy that what they were doing was not sin.

“He told the child there are many references in the Bible of men having sex with young boys.

“He started to take the boy on regular trips to a nearby Anglican church. He even admitted to the child that he was having a sexual relationship with a boy scout.”

But Samuels denied the assaults and told Cardiff Crown Court the children had made their stories up.

He added: “Nothing of a sexual nature happened between myself and any of the boys. It’s is all utter and downright lies.

“I have never touched any children in a sexual way ever. What they said is simply not true.”

Serious abuse

Samuels, of Penarth, was found guilty of a total of 15 charges – including four of indecent assault and 11 of serious sexual assaults.

He was cleared of another eight charges. It took the jury five hours to reach their decision.

Judge Michael Gibbon QC said: “This was serious abuse of children who were trusted in your care. You are now an old man but if you were a 40-year-old you would get something like ten years.

“But I will take into account your age. I hope the boys will think that justice has been done.”

He was ordered to register as a sex offender when he is released. 

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