Weston-super-Mare 'predatory' social worker jailed for sexual abuse of young boys

Raymond Poyner was sentenced on 5 January for the sexual abuse of two boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A 73-year-old man from Weston-super-Mare has been jailed for the sexual abuse of two boys in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Raymond Poyner was sentenced on Friday 5 January. The two male victims, who are now both in their 50s, said their memories of the abuse they were subjected to will never ‘go away’.

Poyner worked as a social worker in the 1970s in Cornwall where he groomed and sexually assaulted a boy.

He moved to the Axbridge area of Somerset where in the 1980s he indecently assaulted a second boy.

In a victim statement, prepared for the sentencing hearing, the first victim said: “Since my childhood, what Poyner did to me sticks in my mind, it consumes a lot of my thinking and the way I view my life.

“I still have no trust in anyone, and even after all this time, I find it difficult to form relationships. I just cannot allow anyone to get close to me; I cannot take people into my confidence.

“Now Poyner has been sentenced there is some closure to this episode. Having said that, I don’t think I will ever put behind me the thoughts of what Poyner put me through.”

The second victim, who was abused about 40 years ago, says the sexual abuse committed against him continues to affect his professional and personal lives, despite his wife’s love and support.

He said in a victim personal statement: “My whole life has been centred around what Poyner put me through. I have little trust in those in authority, this view is jaded by the fact Poyner was a social worker, a position of authority.

“I have always felt somewhat of an outsider, and found it difficult to form relationships.

“A lot of people think I am an extrovert, and have self-confidence. However, this is a disguise, and I am still a terrified teenage boy inside.”

He added that what Poyner did will ‘stay with me for the rest of my life’.

Poyner pleaded guilty in October to two counts of indecent assault on a male person.

Poyner also pleaded guilty to a third charge of possession of indecent photos of children relating to three images and one video he was found with in January 2021.

He was sentenced at North Somerset Courthouse to a total of five years and one month in prison. Poyner remains subject to a lifetime sexual harm prevention order and barred from ever working with children.

The judge, Recorder Jaron Crooknorth, stated Poyner was a predatory offender who abused a position of trust to groom young boys.

DC Mike Tarling said: “Raymond Poyner sexually abused two children the best part of 50 years ago but the impact of his crimes continues to be felt by those two men.

“Both have shown incredible strength and courage to report what happened. Without that, Poyner would never have been brought before the courts again. Poyner was convicted of a similar offence in the 1980s involving a different child and his clear predatory behaviour led to him more recently being made subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

“We hope the conclusion of these proceedings after several years of investigation and court hearings helps both men to move forward with their lives, with the ongoing support of their families and friends. But we should not pretend it wipes away the pain they continue to experience.”

DC Tarling added: “Investigating non-recent sexual abuse is among the most challenging enquiries we face, but cases like this show abusers can be brought to justice no matter how much time has passed.

“We urge anyone who have been abused to report what happened to us, no matter when it happened.

“You will be believed, your report will be taken seriously and we will focus on bringing the perpetrator to justice.”