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How did Swaylands care workers get away with abuse for so long?

How did they get away with it for so long - and what will their victims receive in compensation?

The two big questions that follow the sentencing of three former care officers who abused pupils for three decades at the now-closed Swaylands residential boys' school near Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

Colwyn Baker, David Hennessy and Nigel Putman are starting jail sentences ranging from three to 20 years for what the trial judge described as 'one of the worst breaches of trust a court can deal with'.

Fred spoke to Alison Millar, the lawyer representing some of the 60-plus victims.


Former care workers jailed for a total of 35 years

From left: David Hennessey, Colwyn Baker and Nigel Putman Credit: ITV Meridian

Former care workers at the now-defunct Swaylands School in Penshurst near Tunbridge Wells have been jailed for a total of 35 years for historical sex offences against pupils spanning three decades.

Colwyn Baker, 70 - found guilty of 20 offences by the jury at Maidstone Crown Court - was sentenced to 20 years.

David Hennessy, 75 - convicted of six offences - was jailed for 12 years.

Nigel Putman, 61 - found guilty of two offences - was jailed for three years.

Search for men in connection with reported sexual assault

Detectives are continuing to search for two men pictured on CCTV close to where an incident was reported on Christmas Day.

A woman reported she was the subject of a serious sexual assault in Pencester Court, Dover, at around 4am on 25th December. On 2nd January, Kent Police issued CCTV showing two men it wished to identify and speak to in relation to the incident.

One of them was pictured on CCTV wearing a Santa hat shortly after the incident occurred.

These CCTV images have been released in connection with a reported sexual assault Credit: Kent Police
These CCTV images have been released in connection with a reported sexual assault Credit: Kent Police
These CCTV images have been released in connection with a reported sexual assault Credit: Kent Police

"Since our appeal was issued, we have spoken to a number of people who claim to know who these men are. I’d like to thank the public for coming forward with that information which has enabled us to potentially identify them. We still wish to speak to the pair and are working to locate them as we believe they have information which will assist our investigation. If anyone has information about where they may be, we would ask that they contact us. It is thought they may have left the country. At this stage we are not looking for anyone else in connection with our investigation. I would like to reassure the public that Kent remains a safe place to live and work. Violent crime is rare but where incidents are reported to us Kent Police is committed to bringing offenders to justice."

– Detective Inspector Lee Whitehead

Anyone with any information can contact Kent Police by calling 01303 289600, quoting the crime reference number ZY/41908/14. Alternatively call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Six bailed in alleged sex crimes plot

Six men, including three police officers, who were arrested over an alleged plot to commit serious sex crimes on the Isle of Wight have been bailed.<

The suspects were held in connection with claims of a conspiracy to commit serious sexual offences.

Hampshire Constabulary said the three police officers have been suspended from duty while the criminal investigation continues.

The arrests followed recent information from an alleged victim, who is a member of the public, about incidents said to have taken place this year.

Police have not disclosed the gender of the alleged victim or provided further information about how they came into contact with the officers or the other suspects.

Deputy police and crime commissioner for Hampshire Robin Jarman has said the allegations are being taken seriously and promised a "full and thorough" investigation.


Police officers arrested: statement from Hampshire force

Three serving police officers have been arrested Credit: Meridian

Three serving police officers arrested as part of investigation into sex offences: Hampshire Constabulary's Isle of Wight District commander, Superintendent Julie Fry said:

A key part of maintaining public trust and confidence is fulfilling our responsibility to investigate fully any allegation, irrespective of those involved.

Specialist officers are providing care and support to the victim, and we would ask the public and the media to respect the welfare of everyone affected at this early stage of the investigation.

– Supt. Julie Fry, Hampshire Police

Three police officers arrested during investigation into serious sexual offences

Hampshire Police have arrested six men - three of them serving police officers - on suspicion of conspiracy to commit serious sexual offences on the Isle of Wight.

The arrests follows information from a victim. Alleged incidents are said to have taken place this year. The officers are serving members of Hampshire Constabulary.

The investigation is ongoing. More shortly.

Man jailed for sexually assaulting 3 girls

Dean Davies has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison Credit: Sussex Police

A Polegate man has been sentenced to a total of six and a half years imprisonment for 18 sexual offences against three young girls known to him.

Dean Davies, 20, unemployed, of Walnut Walk, Polegate, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday after a two-week trial the previous month in which he had pleaded not guilty to all offences. The offences of which he was convicted were;

- nine sexual assaults on a girl then aged between six and seven during 2005 and 2006;

- four sexual assaults and one attempted sexual assault on a second girl then aged between 10 and 11 during 2006 and 2007; and two offences of attempted rape of the same girl during the same period;

- one offence of rape of a 16-year old girl in February 2013. He was found not guilty of two charges of rape of a fourth girl then aged 14 during 2009.

The charges, authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service, followed an investigation by detectives from East Sussex CID.

Sentencing Davies, Judge Guy Anthony said to him; "You did not have the courage to plead guilty, and the victims therefore had to give evidence in court."

"Over several years, Davies, from the age of 11 onward, carried out a series of serious sexual offences against three very vulnerable young girls he met and befriended, including several rapes. Eventually we were able to compile full accounts from the victims, and established the exact circumstances. All three were distressed by their experiences and had found difficulty in explaining what had happened at the time. We were impressed by their patience with the investigative process and their willingness to attend court and give their evidence, all of which was crucial in bringing Davies to justice. Anyone who feels they need support or advice whenever learning of this or any similar cases can call 101 at any time, and arrange to talk in confidence to specially trained police officers who can also if needed arrange access to a range of welfare and counselling services."

– Detective Constable Jo Barber

Online video campaign to target sexual assault incidents

Image from online video campaign Credit: Hampshire Police

A new campaign targeting young men is launching across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Men are being reminded that anything less than a yes is a no as part of the new initiative. The two year long campaign to target incidents of sexual assault and rape goes live on Monday, November 17, 2014. Via social media networks, men across the region will be asked to ‘test their pulling power’ using an online game, ‘Seal the Deal’. The ‘Seal the deal’ YouTube game is designed to demonstrate to men what constitutes rape and sexual assault, particularly in the context of a night out. The game takes place from the perspective of the man and allows people playing the game to make choices about what move to make, whether to take no for an answer and when to go home.

We are targeting young men as statistically they are more likely to commit an offence. Whether you are 16 and getting drunk at a friends party or 28 and heading into town for a few drinks, the message is simple, cross the line and its rape.

– Detective Chief Inspector Tara Williams
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