May 2019

Man, 63, found guilty of sexually abusing boys in north-east town

An amateur theatre choreographer has been remanded in custody after subjecting two boys to a catalogue of sexual abuse.

Philip Warke, 63, preyed on the youngsters at his home in Peterhead and on trips to cities in England and Scotland.

Warke molested them and carried out sex acts on them from the age of 13, the High Court in Edinburgh heard.

Warke, formerly of Rutland Court, Middlesbrough, in North Yorkshire, had denied sexual offending against the children, but was convicted by a jury of four offences of indecent behaviour and indecent assault between 1990 and 1994.

Lord Pentland rejected a move to have first offender Warke’s bail continued ahead of sentencing next month.

Advocate depute Jane Farquharson QC said the victims did not give consent to a sexual relationship and added: “They were passive participants in non-consensual sex. He forced himself upon them for his sole sexual gratification. They saw him as charismatic.” One victim, now aged 42, told the court he found Warke, who was involved in amateur dramatics, to be “intimidating”.

He said: “He conducted himself in such a way that people were intimidated by him. They would do whatever he wanted them to do.”

He met Warke through “an audition” for a theatrical production of a musical in which he was the choreographer.

He said they were given a demonstration and he enjoyed learning and showed an aptitude for it.

The man told the court: “We were led to believe he had had an accident while on his way to audition for a large West End show.”

He said he and two friends later spent the night at Warke’s flat. He said: “It was a ‘wow’ moment for us. We were in awe of him.”

He said he and another boy took a sofa, but the third shared Warke’s bed. Miss Farquharson asked him what he thought of that looking back and he replied: “I think a 34 or 35-year-old man taking a 13-year-old boy to his bed is wrong.”

The man said he would stay over at Warke’s on his own when they would watch TV and films and drink.

On one occasion Warke told him the heating in the flat in Peterhead was broken and he could share his bed. He told the court: “No one seemed to have a problem with him. Everyone trusted him.”

He said: “We all suspected he was gay, but nothing had ever been said. He was obviously a trusted figure to me.”

But he said that when he got into bed the older man performed a sex act on him. He said he felt uncomfortable and embarrassed and was concerned that others might find out and think he was gay when he was not. He said: “He insisted I was gay and I knew that I wasn’t.”

The man said: “I never instigated anything that happened between us. It was something I let happen through fear and intimidation.”

Sentence was deferred on Warke until next month. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register.