A former staff member at a Hampshire children’s home charged with non-recent child sex offences has today (Friday 6 October) been jailed for 15 years.
A former staff member at a Hampshire children’s home charged with non-recent child sex offences has today (Friday 6 October) been jailed for 15 years, following an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary’s Operation Marmion.
Willy John Gillham, 64, of Rue des Fours Ecoine, Deux-Sèvres, France, was found guilty of four counts of serious sexual offences against a boy under the age of 16, following a trial by jury at Southampton Crown Court.
The court heard that Gillham had committed offences including rape and indecent assault at the former Palmerston House children’s home on Botley Road, Romsey, during the 1980s.
The home had already closed down prior to the investigation conducted by Hampshire Constabulary's Operation Marmion team.
Gillham was given an 18 month term of imprisonment for indecent assault, and a 15 year prison sentence for three counts of rape, to run concurrently. He will serve a minimum of 7 years before being considered for parole.
Following the hearing, Operation Marmion’s Detective Inspector Toby Elcock said: "To come forward and speak to police more than 30 years after being subjected to such a horrific level of offending takes remarkable bravery and courage.
“I have great admiration for the victim who helped bring this man to justice, and I hope this encourages other members of the community who have suffered in silence to make that step in speaking to our detectives.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Gillham’s victim was in a setting which should have been entirely safe. Instead they were betrayed in the worst possible way by someone who should have been protecting them from harm.
“His victim may have waited a long time for justice but it is in part thanks to their bravery that Gillham was brought before the courts, solid proof that it is never too late to speak out about past abuse.
“Sexual abuse ruins childhoods and the devastating effects can last into adulthood without the right support. We hope the victim in this case has received the available help so they can move forward with their lives.”
Today’s hearing follows a significant investigation conducted as part of Operation Marmion - Hampshire Constabulary's ongoing review of non-recent Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and abuse cases.
The review includes a re-examination of available evidence, and the offer of additional support alongside partner agencies to those affected by CSE and abuse.
The work of Operation Marmion also involves child protection specialists from local authorities.
Previous victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse, or anyone with information, can contact Operation Marmion detectives at Hampshire Constabulary's Southern Training Headquarters at Netley by phoning 101. Mini-com users can phone 18001 101.
Alternatively, information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
For more information on the support services available in south west Hampshire for victims of sexual violence and abuse, please call the Yellow Door helpline on 02380 636313, or visit the website: http://www.yellowdoor.org.uk/