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Cotsbrook Hall


The Times (London) 13th December 1997
by Stewart Tendler, Crime Correspondent

POLICE faked a road accident as part of a massive investigation that uncovered a paedophile who had eluded justice since the 1970s. David Stanley, 49, was jailed for 18 years yesterday after being convicted of abusing boys who were in his charge as a scoutmaster and a care assistant at a private children’s home.

Sixteen men, including a Church of England vicar, were praised for their courage last night for giving public evidence that they were abused by Stanley as boys. Stanley, now married with two teenage children, said the accusations were lies.

West Mercia police launched an investigation in November 1996 after becoming suspicious of him following an incident of indecent assault at a swimming baths in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. One man was jailed for 12 months and officers began looking closely into Stanley’s background.

Police arranged an elaborate plan to seize his home computer before he was able to delete pornographic pictures stored on it. They staged a collision in the road outside his house. Stanley came out, and the police then held him and rushed in to carry out a legal search.

When police extended their operations, they discovered that Stanley had faced allegations of abuse in 1979 at the Cotsbrook Hall care home in Shifnal, Shropshire. He had resigned and the case was abandoned for lack of corroboration. Working with social workers and a charity which helps victims of abuse, officers traced people who were children and staff in the 1970s, interviewing 300 witnesses around the country.

At Worcester Crown Court, Stanley, a computer consultant in Telford, was convicted of 16 sex offences and one charge of possessing pornographic photographs with a view to distributing them on the Internet. He was given 16 years for the abuse and two years for the pornography.

The abuse, committed against boys aged ten to 15, began while he was a scoutmaster between 1970 and 1976, and then continued for another three years when he worked at the children’s home. Judge Michael Mott said the photographs showed his proclivity for boys had not diminished.

Cotsbrook Hall was owned by the same company responsible for the Bryn Alyn home in Wrexham, whose owner John Allen was jailed for six years for paedophile offences.

After the case, Detective Chief Inspector John Cashion said of the witnesses: “It has taken immense courage for these men. They will never forget these attacks by a man they should have been able to trust.”

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