Former housemaster found guilty of historical sexual offences at Isle of Man children's home

Douglas Courthouse

A former housemaster has been sentenced to six years in prison after abusing two underaged boys at a care home.

Joseph Henry Marshall, 85, was found guilty of committing the serious sexual offences between 1974 and 1982, at the Knottfield care home in Douglas, where he was employed as the resident housemaster.

After the two victims came forward to Isle of Man Police, officers investigated the offences and summoned Marshall to appear at court, where he was convicted of five sexual offences, on Tuesday 14 December 2021.

Inspector Neil Craig, one of the Senior Investigating Officers involved in the enquiry, said: "Mr Marshall both used, and abused, his position of trust as the housemaster within the Knottfield care home over many years in order to be able to commit these offences.

"His behaviour was deplorable, and showed a complete and utter disregard for the victims whom he has been convicted of having offended against. 

"He likely believed that the passage of time would allow his offending to remain undetected, however as a result of this investigation he is now having to face the consequences of his actions.

"The men who agreed to testify against him have been incredibly brave from the time of initially coming forward and speaking to the police, right through to having to give evidence in court, and beyond.

"Without their courage, Mr Marshall is unlikely to have been found guilty of having offended against them, and I hope that his sentencing today will help of both them, and their families, to now be able to start to move forward with their lives.

"Similarly, I would like to thank the prosecuting Advocates of the Attorney General’s Chambers, and their colleagues from the wider prosecution team, who have collectively spent the last four years tirelessly ensuring that this case was brought to court, along with its subsequent prosecution which was undertaken with both compassion and sensitivity.

"Regardless of when they may have happened, the Isle of Man Constabulary remain committed to treating all reports of sexual offences seriously and with the utmost professionalism, thoroughness and with the aim of bringing any perpetrators of such crimes to justice."