Boys abused by 'predatory' paedophile ring at sex parties jury is told

Credit: Geoff Abbott

A former professional wrestler was at the centre of a "predatory" paedophile ring that abused young boys at sex parties, a jury has heard.

The victims were said to have been passed around a group of men who visited the homes of wrestler Gary Cooke, 64, in the Wrexham area of North Wales in the early to mid 1980s.

One of the defendants who visited Cooke's addresses was teacher and care home owner Roger Griffiths, 76 - a convicted paedophile, Mold Crown Court was told.

It would appear that troubled boys and young teenagers would congregate at Cooke's home, where they would watch pornographic movies, would be plied with drink, given a drug - amyl nitrate -and sexually abused.

Eleanor Laws QC, prosecution

Cooke, who is also known as Mark Grainger, of Galway Road, Leicester, is accused of 11 indecent assaults, four serious sexual assaults and two counts of indecency with a child. The offences relate to four alleged victims.

Griffiths, of New Broughton, Wrexham, faces two counts of indecent assault against one complainant. The jury heard that Griffiths owned Gatewen Hall children's home in Wrexham from 1977 to 1983 and was a teacher at Wrexham Special Education Centre, which has since closed down.

Miss Laws said that police records revealed that Griffiths was a convicted sex offender with convictions in 1999 for indecent assault, a serious sexual assault and cruelty to a child. The victims were aged 16 and in his care at Gatewen Hall, said the prosecutor.

Mold Crown Court where the trial is taking place. Credit: PA

Ex-publican David Lightfoot, 72, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, is charged with six indecent assaults, three sexual assaults and one count of indecency with a child, in relation to one alleged victim.

Keith Stokes, 62, a then local abattoir boss, from Farndon, Chester, is accused of four indecent assaults, two serious sexual assaults and one count of indecency with a child, all against one complainant. He is the only defendant said not to have visited Cooke's home.

Former local radio DJ Roy Norry, 54, faces six counts of indecent assault and two serious sexual assaults, relating to two alleged victims.

Ex-bus driver George Phoenix, 63, of New Broughton, Wrexham, is charged with one indecent assault.

Edward Huxley, 70, a former civil servant, from Lower Road, Cookham, Berkshire, faces two counts of indecent assault, in relation to one alleged victim.

One complaint says he was sexually abused by all seven defendants between the ages of 12 and 15.

Another alleged victim was said to have been as young as 11 or 12.

A total of six complainants would give evidence during the course of the trial, the jury was told.