May 2017

Jury finds former carer guilty of sexual abuse at children’s home in Skipton

A carer from Cowling has been found guilty of sexually abusing youngsters at a home.

A jury at Bradford Crown Court found 65-year-old Stuart Thornton guilty of offences against three boys and a girl in the 1970s at a children’s home in Carleton Road, Skipton, which has since closed.

He was convicted after a two-week trial of six offences of indecent assault on a male person under 14; two of gross indecency with a child; two of indecent assault and one of buggery.

The jury found him not guilty, on the direction of Judge Neil Davey QC, of two counts of gross indecency with a child.

Judge Davey adjourned sentencing until July 7 and granted conditional bail to the defendant. Thornton was made subject of an interim Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign the sexual offender register.

Thornton used his power and trusted position as a carer to commit appalling sex crimes against children over many years. In a home that should have been a place of comfort and safety, he subjected his vulnerable victims to horrific abuse and controlled them through fear and punishment.