Coventry & Warwickshire

Wisteria Lodge: Coventry children's home workers jailed for 'grotesque' abuse

Alan Todd Kenneth Owen Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Alan Todd, left, and Kenneth Owen were convicted for carrying out "grotesque" abuse on children in their care in the 1980s

Two former children's home workers who ran "a regime of terror" have been jailed.

Kenneth Owen and Alan Todd, both 70, worked at Wisteria Lodge, which was run by Coventry City Council, in the 1980s.

A jury at Warwick Crown Court heard how Todd had sexually assaulted two of his victims, and also taunted a vegetarian child with a dead rabbit.

Owen verbally and physically abused children with Todd, including locking them in "time out" rooms for hours.

Todd, from Stretton-under-Fosse in Warwickshire, was jailed for eight years and two months after being convicted of six indecent assault and five cruelty charges.

Owen, from Dickon Hill Road in Boston in Lincolnshire, was given a prison sentence of four years and four months after being found guilty of five cruelty charges.

Judge Alan Parker said the pair carried out "grotesque" abuse of children at the home.

"It's barely comprehensible to right-thinking people but what happened here goes far beyond the depths of wickedness and depravity," he said.

'Courage' of victims

A Coventry City Council spokesman apologised to the victims.

"These crimes happened a number of years ago and the safeguards we have in place now make it a priority for the voice of the child or young person to be heard," they said.

Det Con Emma Tyler, who led West Midlands Police's investigation, praised the "commendable courage" of those who spoke against their attackers, and urged others to help police and prosecutors convict offenders.

A spokesman for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) said it hoped the convictions would encourage more victims of other crimes to come forward.

"It is deeply concerning that this went on for so long, but we hope the sentences imposed today send out a clear message that these appalling acts will not be tolerated," they said.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites