Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton couple jailed for sexually abusing 'vulnerable' boys

Richard Townsend (left) and Mark Metcalfe Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Richard Townsend (left) and his partner Mark Metcalfe "exploited... particularly vulnerable" boys, a judge said

A couple have been jailed for sexually abusing two "vulnerable" boys along with a third victim who could not be traced by police.

Richard Townsend, 57, filmed partner Mark Metcalfe, 56, abusing the unknown teenager in Southampton, a jury heard.

Townsend was handed a 23-year term at the city's crown court for 14 offences committed between 1998 and 2005.

Metcalfe, 56, who lived with Townsend in Copsewood Road, Southampton, was jailed for seven years.

'Night terrors'

One boy, who was raped by Townsend, said he had suffered "horrible night terrors" since and had tried to "bury" the abuse in drugs and alcohol.

In a statement read out by prosecutor James Newton-Price QC, the boy said: "I'm still ashamed of what happened.

"I always feel... that it was my fault and I let off some kind of vibe that allowed them to do what they did."

Another boy was left feeling "angry, guilty and anxious", Mr Newton-Pryce said.

'Devious and manipulative'

After the pair's trial, Townsend was found guilty of rape, nine indecent assaults, two sexual assaults, assault by penetration and indecency with a child.

The court heard he had previously been given a two-year suspended sentence after admitting making and distributing indecent images.

Metcalfe was convicted of two sexual assaults and one indecent assault.

Passing sentence, Judge Nicholas Rowland said the defendants had "exploited... particularly vulnerable" boys.

He said Townsend had made a "highly devious and manipulative" attempt to stop his victims from going to the police.

The judge imposed an 18-year jail sentence with a five-year extension.

He granted sexual harm prevention orders on Townsend for life and Metcalfe for 10 years.

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