Bristol & Taunton paedophile ring

September 2016

Paedophile gang who abused nine children jailed for 63 years

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Logan Morris (left) and Martin Belgium (right) were jailed for 15 and 12 years respectively

Four paedophiles who abused children over five decades were branded ‘monsters of the deepest, darkest depths’ by a judge as he jailed them for a combined 63 years. 

Joseph Foster, 74, Logan Morris, 71, Stephen Amos, 62, and Martin Belgium, 55, were convicted of 27 offences against nine victims.

The predators raped and molested seven girls and two boys – some as young as five – in a ‘morass’ of offending spanning from the late 1970s to 2012 that often went unreported, and one victim claimed was as regular as ‘washing up.’

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Stephen Amos (left) and Joseph Foster (right) were both handed 18 years

Jailing the gang for 63 years, Judge Julian Lambert said: ‘The sump of depravity in which you wallowed and the extent of the damage which you did is utterly staggering. 

‘You generated a choking fog of misery which may never lift.

‘Only time and compassion may make it thinner and hopefully memories may fade; there is no assurance they will.

‘You are truly monsters in the deepest, darkest depths of corruption.’

David Scutt, prosecuting at the six-week Bristol Crown Court trial, told the jury: ‘At first sight the scale and subject matter of this case must seem rather daunting.

‘Ultimately this squalid case is about four men sexually abusing boys and girls.

‘It became a way of life. They abused children together. They abused them apart.

‘They got away with it for many years.’

One of the offenders, Martin Belgium, was accused of giving a girl ‘secret privileged tutorials’, which she went along with as she felt she was being educated.

Other children went along with the abuse in exchange for ‘fags, sweets and money’ and thought it was normal, with one girl adding it was as regular as ‘washing up’.

She told police: ‘It wasn’t something that was lovely and it wasn’t something that you wanted to do but it was just one of those kind of things that happened.’

Another said: ‘It was a public thing so it must have been acceptable to everybody. I just assumed everybody knew – the way it was done, it was so public.’

The court heard that though the abuse was obvious and in the open, much of it went unreported at the time.

When it was reported it was dismissed, ignored or not pursued by authorities such as police and social services.

One complainant revealed she had been abused in a police interview in 1986.

Her mother, who was with her, reacted by moving her chair away and saying: ‘I can’t believe you, you dirty slag.’

In the sentencing hearing, Jennifer Tallentire, prosecuting, read Judge Lambert moving impact statements penned by the victims.

One wrote: ‘The abuse planted a seed in me that paved the way for self-destruction.

‘I’ve felt lost most of my life. It made me trust the wrong people. It made me lack self-esteem. I felt ashamed. I felt what happened to me as a child was my fault.’

Another wrote: ‘It’s like a nightmare I never wake up from. I’ve got their nasty paw prints over me.’

Many of the men’s victims attended court to see their abusers jailed, along with eight members of the jury which convicted them.

Foster, of Southmead, Bristol, was found guilty of two rapes, two indecent assaults, one attempted rape and three counts of indecency with a child.

The pensioner was jailed for 18 years and will serve a further four years on licence.

Morris, formerly of Hartcliffe, Bristol, was found guilty of six indecent assaults and three attempted rapes and was locked up for 15 years.

Belgium, of Easton, Bristol, was jailed for 12 years after after being convicted of two indecent assaults and two attempted rapes.

Amos, of Taunton, Somerset, was convicted of four rapes, one indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child.

He was jailed for 18 years and will serve a further four years on licence.

After the hearing on Thursday, Detective Constable Julie Bryan-Young of Avon and Somerset Constabulary paid tribute to the bravery of the victims.

She said the predators who abused them ‘gave no thought to the long-term pain and torment’ they were inflicting.

‘They have displayed the utmost bravery and courage throughout our investigation and the proceeding trial,’ she said.

July 2016

Gang sexually abused children as young as five

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Clockwise from top: Foster; Amos; Belgium; Morris

A gang has been convicted for sexually abusing a group of children as regularly as ‘doing the washing up’ for 20 years.

Four men from Bristol and Taunton face jail after committing ‘squalid’ sexual abuse on the youngsters which became as normal as the doing household chores.

They preyed on seven girls and two boys in offences spanning from the late 1970s to the late 1990s.

Logan Morris, 71, Joseph Foster, 74, Martin Belgium, 55, and Stephen Amos, 62, were all convicted after a six week trial in which the jury returned 27 guilty verdicts.

The court heard the four friends groomed the children when they were aged under 16 – some as young as five – and either touched them improperly or raped them.

One girl told police: ‘It seemed like a regular thing because it was just like washing up really.

‘It wasn’t something that was lovely and it wasn’t something that you wanted to do but it was just one of those kind of things that happened.’

David Scutt, prosecuting, told the jury: ‘At first sight the scale and subject matter of this case must seem rather daunting.

‘Ultimately this squalid case is about four men sexually abusing boys and girls.

‘It became a way of life. They abused children together. They abused them apart.

‘They got away with it for many years.’

Mr Scutt said much of the abuse went unreported at the time and though the abuse was obvious and in the open it was allowed to continue.

Many of the complainants didn’t fully understand they had been groomed or abused and went along with it to get ‘fags, sweets and money’.

One complainant said: ‘It was a public thing, so it must have been acceptable to everybody. I just assumed that everybody knew.. the way it was done, it was so public.’

Belgium is accused of giving one girl ‘secret privileged tutorials’, which she went along with as she felt she was being educated.

When one complainant was interviewed by police in 1986 her mother accompanied her and reacted by moving her chair away, saying: ‘I can’t believe you, you dirty slag’.

Morris, of Hartcliffe, Bristol, was charged with six indecent assaults, three attempted rapes and indecency with a child.

Foster, of Southmead, Bristol, was charged with two indecent assaults, one attempted rape, three charges of indecency with a child and two rapes.

Belgium, of Knowle, Bristol, was charged with two indecent assaults and three attempted rapes.

Amos, of Taunton, was charged with two indecent assaults, one sexual assault, one indecency with a child, four rapes, indecency with a child and attempted rape.

The men were bailed pending sentence on September 8. 

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