A former public school teacher described as a prolific and calculating sexual predator has been jailed for 17 years and four months after abusing vulnerable young Kenyan street children.
Charity boss Simon Harris lured boys using food, money and the promise of schooling to his luxury home in the East African country where the abuse took place between 2002 and May 2013.
Harris, 55, of Pudleston near Leominster in Herefordshire, was convicted after trial last year of three indecent assaults and five sexual assaults, with one victim thought to be as young as nine.
He was also found guilty of four charges of possessing indecent images of children.
Former public school teacher and charity boss Simon Harris has been jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for 17 years and four months after abusing vulnerable Kenyan street children.
Harris lured boys using food, money and the promise of schooling to his luxury home in the East African country where the abuse took place between 2002 and May 2013.
Harris, of Pudleston near Leominster in Herefordshire, was convicted of three indecent assaults and five sexual assaults, with one victim thought to be as young as nine.
The 55 year old was also found guilty of four charges of possessing indecent images of children.
An inspection into West Mercia Police's child protection work has criticised the force's 'weak' responses to child sexual exploitation.
In a report published this morning, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary praised officers' rigorous supervision of registered sex offenders, but said complex investigations were often poorly planned.
The watchdog carried out the inspection in November last year as part of a rolling programme of reports into police forces in England and Wales.
In a summary of their findings, inspectors said that they were impressed by:
- The force's 'clear commitment' to improving services for vulnerable people and children.
- Quick response times to allegations about child abuse.
- The sensitivity and skill shown by the specialist teams who question very young children, or children with learning difficulties.
- The force's rigorous supervision of registered sex offenders.
Inspectors were concerned to find:
- Investigations were poorly planned or insufficiently thorough in difficult or complex cases.
- Recognising and responding to child sexual exploitation was weak.
- Too many children were being unnecessarily held in police custody overnight.
- In cases that were allocated to non-specialist teams, enquiries and investigations were undertaken by insufficiently skilled and knowledgeable staff.
“West Mercia Police is clearly committed to improving child protection services and has invested in new structures, specialist teams and resources to improve the timeliness of investigations.”
“Despite this commitment, West Mercia Police needs to improve in a number of areas. We found that the initial response to child protection issues was sometimes slow, and that investigations were not always of the highest quality. We also found that there were significant delays in some investigations, which can have a negative impact on the child. The force also needs to make sure staff who undertake child protection work are sufficiently skilled.
“I encourage West Mercia Police to act on our recommendations as a matter of urgency, and have asked that within six weeks it provides us with an action plan to demonstrate how it will take forward these recommendations.”
Norovirus outbreak and A&E pressure force health bosses to suspend hospital visits.Read the full story ›
Visitors have been told to stay away from hospitals in Herefordshire in order to stop the spread of the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus.
Wards have been closed and operations cancelled. The Wye Valley NHS Trust says half of beds are being used by patients infected with Norovirus.
The Trust says staff dealt with 20 per cent more patients than usual over the weekend.
A4103 in both directions blocked, slow traffic due to accident near A465. Affecting traffic between Hereford and Withington.
Police are appealing for witnesses after a man was assaulted on Commercial Road in Hereford.
At 3.15am on January 25, a man in his late 20s was head butted, kicked and punched. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to Hereford County Hospital.
Three men, aged 21, 23 and 27 were arrested in connection with the incident, and have been released on bail until March 20, while further enquiries are carried out.
The family of a famous Second World War pilot are asking for the public's help in tracing his missing medals.
Wing Commander Paddy Finucane's brother-in-law sent the medals to the Royal Air Force Museum in London, where they were due to be exhibited. Although he got a proof of postage, the medals never arrived at the museum.
The medals are of huge sentimental family to Mr Finucane's family, and they are said to be 'devastated' that they have gone missing.
Paddy Finucane was a fighter pilot and flying ace with the Royal Air Force.
The Irish-born hero was credited with 28 air victories and become the RAF's youngest ever wing commander in 1942.
On the 15th of July that year, Finucane took off with his flight for a mission over France. His Spitfire was damaged by ground–fire. Finucane attempted to fly back to England across the English Channel but was forced to ditch into the sea. He was never seen again.
Over 2,500 people attended his memorial at Westminster Cathedral, and his name is inscribed among 'The Few' on the Battle of Britain Memorial on London's Embankment.
Herefordshire's Ellie Goulding has ended Mark Ronson's seven-week reign at the top of the singles chart with her song Love Me Like You Do.Read the full story ›
Union street in Hereford has been forced to close after a sinkhole appeared in the road.Read the full story ›