May 2018

North Shields foster carer unmasked as paedophile ‘monster’ is jailed for nine-and-a-half years

To the outside world, George Croudace was a good, kind man who had fostered children for decades – but today he can be unmasked as a paedophile “monster” who was living a lie.

Former trade union leader Croudace and his wife had been taking in youngsters at their home in North Shields for 32 years.

But the 71-year-old’s double life as a secret pervert can now be revealed after he was jailed for sexually assaulting three youngsters and downloading vile child abuse images.

The victims – not children he had fostered – were as young as five when he abused them, with one of them claiming it happened hundreds of times.

When the youngsters revealed to their mums that “every parent’s worst nightmare” had come true, police moved in.

And when they checked his computers they found he had also downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children as young as two.

Now Croudace has been locked up for nine-and-a-half years at Newcastle Crown Court for three counts of sexual assault and three of making indecent pictures of a child.

The mum-of-two of the victims said in a statement read to the court: “Despite having no energy left, wild horses could not stop me being here without shame and making him hear what he has done.

“My daughter had very little confidence. I never knew why this was. She had always been nervous around men. I never knew why this was.

“Then with the words that came out of her mouth, it was every parent’s worst nightmare. She had been sexually abused.”

She added of Croudace: “He was a foster carer of vulnerable children. He was always around children.”

The woman said she is worried about the effect the abuse will have in later life.

She said: “They were stripped of their innocence as young children in a way no-one should ever have to experience.

“My kids are amazing and deserve to be loved and protected. He stripped them of their innocence.

“How do you put into words how something like this affects someone?”

She added: “He suddenly became a monster.”

The woman said the abuse has affected her mental wellbeing and she feels a sense of failure for not protecting the victims.

But the defiant mum added: “He will not destroy our lives. We are good, kind, loving people. We are better than him.”

The mum of another victim said in her victim impact statement: “Since the incident she has been very withdrawn and reluctant to be left with any male adults.

“She refuses to go to the toilet on her own. Talking through it is very traumatic, she becomes very emotional.

“She only knows it was bad and something an adult should not do to a child.”

The woman said Croudace was aware her daughter had suffered serious health problems.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Muir said the abuse came to light when one girl, aged around eight, said Croudace had done “rude things to her”.

A boy, aged five or six, also said Croudace had been touching him sexually.

Miss Muir said: “He said it happened hundreds of times.”

The third victim said he had touched her sexually on one occasion when she was four or five and it hurt.

After his arrest, police seized four laptops from Croudace.

They found 225 of the most serious, category A, images, 16 category A videos, 194 category B images, eight category B videos, 313 category C images and three category C videos.

Miss Muir said: “The age range of the children in all of the videos and images was two to 14 years old.

“There was evidence of systematic searching for key words linked to indecent images of children. These related to both web searches and peer to peer application searches.

“At least one image dated back to 2007.”

Croudace, of no fixed address, who has no previous convictions, made no reply when interviewed by police.

As well as jailing Croudace, the judge imposed lifelong sex offender registration and a sexual harm prevention order

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