Former guest house owner convicted of sex offences
A FORMER Southport guest house owner has been warned that he faces a lengthy jail term after being convicted of seriously sexual assaults on two boys more than three decades ago.
John Aspin and his partner, who has died since the allegations came to light, raped the boys during sordid threesomes, a jury was told.
67-year-old Aspin, of Knowsley Road, Southport, showed no reaction when the jury found him guilty of nine charges and acquitted him of two other offences but female supporters in the public gallery broke down in tears.
He had been on bail during the two and a half week trial but after the unanimous verdicts were returned by the jury of seven women and five men Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, remanded him in custody.
He said that he wanted a probation report to assess any risk of dangerousness that Aspin may pose in the future.
The judge told Aspin, “I am not going to sentence you until June 30 so there can be a probation report prepared to allow me to decide the type of sentence you will have to face. You know you face a lengthy prison sentence.”
Aspin was convicted of three offences of indecently assaulting one victim and two of offences of buggery when the boy was 14 and two offences of indecently assaulting the other victim and two of buggery when he was also 14. He was cleared of another offence of indecent assault and buggery on the the first boy.
During the trial the jury, who took nearly nine hours to agree their verdicts, heard how 67-year-old William Bryant, who lived with Aspin, would also have also been on trial but he died last year. He had been charged with seven indecent assault offences.
Ben Jones, prosecuting, said that a key feature of the prosecution case was that the two victims were unknown to each other and there was similarity in their allegations.
He said that one boy told how he was abused numerous times over five years but had particular memories of four incidents. The victim said that both men regularly touched his privates and kissed him. The second incident he particularly recalled happened when he was 14 and at the Nirvana guest house in Southport that the two men owned.
He was in the bar drinking with others and after everyone went to bed Aspin sat next to him and started to rub his leg and kiss him. Aspin said that the boy was “probably gay” and sexually abused him and also got the boy to perform a sex act on him.
Mr Jones claimed that two or three days later he was again at the guest house and after they plied him with drink they said he could stay the night. While in a double bed Aspin had poppers put under his nose which made him feel “dizzy and spaced out”.
The two naked men then allegedly performed oral sex on him and raped him.
Mr Jones told the jury that the other alleged victim had been aged between 13 – 15 when he was abused by both men. He was a talented dancer and as the two men had associations with people who ran dance competitions they came into contact with him.
While at a dance competition in Blackpool he was getting changed in the toilets when Aspin came in and sexually molested him and while he was performing a sex act on the boy, Bryant came in and allegedly did the same thing.
The next incident was the next year, 1983, at the Floral Hall, Southport, when he was still 14, and the two men approached him. They invited him to premises about five minutes walk away and both men raped him.
Later that year the boy, who was coming to terms with the realisation that he was probably gay, had sex with Bryant. He did not tell anyone about what had happened but an invitation in 2015 for a dancers reunion brought the memories flooding back and he rang the police.
Mr Jones said that although the two alleged victims had completely different personalities and gone on to lead very different lives the effect of their childhood experiences “is so very similar.”
The former dancer had revealed, “I have finally realised that i was a victim of child abuse. I was raped. I look back at that boy and start crying. Thinking about what happened makes me feel like a scared 14-year-old …..my anger is so great, I fear it. I have become reclusive and tense.”
The other alleged victim’s abuse came to light while his mum was being spoken to about another matter and she mentioned he had made a sexual complaint about the two men some years before.
When interviewed the man, who regards himself as “a man’s man”, revealed that he had gradually told his wife about the abuse but had not told others as he did not want to be thought gay.
“I really struggle with myself emotionally and hate the thought of anyone thinking I am weak because I didn’t protect myself as a child against Bill and John.”
He said that he had felt “angry and frustrated for years.”
Aspin strenuously denied all the allegations and told the court that he had never even met the second victim.