Hartlepool funeral director jailed for abusing boys
A predatory paedophile who abused boys in public toilets and his own funeral parlour has been jailed for 20 years.
Funeral director Gerald Martin targeted five vulnerable teenage boys in the late 1970s, 80s and mid 1990s.
One of his victims was assaulted at a Boys Brigade meeting, where Martin volunteered, after visiting with an interest in joining the Christian group.
Another was taken by Martin to his funeral parlour in Park Road in Hartlepool and subjected to a serious sexual assault.
Teesside Crown Court heard other innocent victims were targeted in public toilets in the town where Martin carried out offences, allegedly with two other men.
Two of the victims – now middle-aged men – read moving statements out in court which described the devastating impact Martin’s offending had on their lives.
Neither could remember most of their childhoods, both had turned to alcohol and suffered problems in their relationships and working lives.
One broke down as he told Teesside Crown Court today: “The abuse has robbed me of happiness, a stable mental mind and everything.”
Another said his only memory of his childhood years is his visits to Ayresome Park Football Ground.
“I used to get on my bike with 50p in my pocket to buy football programmes,” he said. “My only happy memories where if it involves Middlesbrough Football Club.
“A lot of my childhood I can’t remember. There’s nothing. It’s like it has stolen my childhood.”
Other victims had self-harmed; one had attempted suicide eight times and as recently as September.
Martin, 66, of Valley Close, Hartlepool, was found guilty by a jury of 14 charges of indecent assault, false imprisonment and offences which would today be classified as rape and attempted rape.
His victims were aged between 12 and 15 when they were abused by Martin. One of his victims was 32 years younger than him at the time of the offending.
Jailing Martin for 20 years, Judge Simon Phillips QC said Martin had used his profession to carry out the despicable acts, and was a “persistent, predatory paedophile to boys in their early teenage years”.
Hartlepool funeral director sexually abused boys
A funeral director has been found guilty of sexually abusing five boys over a 22-year period.
One victim said he was grabbed from a public toilet, bundled into a car and sexually abused at Gerald Martin’s funeral parlour in Hartlepool.
Teesside Crown Court heard the abuse began in the 1970s.
Martin, 66 and of Valley Close, Hartlepool, had denied all the charges against him. He will be sentenced at a later date.
The jury was told he had been seen as an upstanding member of the community and for a time had been captain of the local boys’ brigade.
However, the abuse came to light in 2013 when a man told a nurse he had been the victim of an assault.
Four other people then came forward to say they had also been abused as teenagers after details of Martin’s first court appearance were reported.
Some told police they had been sexually abused in public toilets.
Giving evidence during the trial, Martin admitted to having homosexual experiences, but said he had not told his wife of 35 years because he loved her and they were “absolutely happy”.
He denied having sexual encounters with children and said he had “definitely not” had sex with any of his accusers.