July 2018

Ex-Salvation Army officer formerly of Newport jailed for sex offences against boys

A former Salvation Army officer who lived in Newport has been jailed for six years over ‘unimaginable’ historic sex offences committed against two boys.

John Blowers, 82, was condemned by Judge Jeremy Jenkins for the “cruel and systematic abuse” of his victims.

He added that the defendant had carried out “sexual abuse of the basest kind” against the teenagers.

Blowers, now of Upper Tollington Park, Hornsey, London, was convicted of gross indecency and indecent assault after a five-day trial at Cardiff Crown Court last month.

He had earlier admitted two counts of indecent assault.

Blowers’ barrister Jenny Yeo said in mitigation at Newport Crown Court: “He accepts the jury’s verdicts.”

She added that her client had “struggled with his sexuality” as a young man and was brought up in a strict religious Salvation Army environment.

Mrs Yeo said that in his earlier life in less enlightened times, he had undergone aversion therapy “to cure him of his homosexuality”.

She said the defendant was in a current relationship with a man who was in court to support him.

The court heard he was regarded as a “model” member of his church society in London and was involved with a lesbian and gay Christian movement.

His barrister asked Judge Jenkins to take into account Blowers’ remorse for what he had done.

Mrs Yeo added: “He accepts what he did was shameful and it fills him with horror and he is sorry.”

The judge told Blowers: “What your victims suffered as children is quite unimaginable.”

The court heard that the defendant had a previous conviction for a similar offence committed against a 15-year-old boy.

This will be Blowers’ first experience of custody and Judge Jenkins told him: “At 82, you are bound to feel the impact of a prison sentence more than most.”

As well as being jailed for six years, the defendant was told he will have to register as a sex offender for life.