Children’s home owner who campaigned against child abuse secretly abused kids in his care

A children’s home owner who campaigned publicly against child abuse secretly abused kids in his care.

John Webber was convicted of a staggering 26 sex offences – including multiple assaults on six boys aged between 15 and five.

The 78-year-old abused his victims at the Old Rectory Children’s Home in Singleton, West Sussex, and occasionally on UK camping trips.

The sexual predator was said to be trusted by many ‘like a father’ but preyed on his victims in a place where they ‘should have been safe.’

Webber, from Brighton in East Sussex, was convicted of 19 charges of indecent assault on men, three of buggery, two of attempted buggery and two of indecency with a child between 35 and 44 years ago.

The pensioner could spend the rest of his golden years behind bars after he was sentenced to 32 years imprisonment at Hove Crown Court yesterday.

Police emphasised that the Children’s Home closed in the late eighties and that any management or occupants of the address since that time have no connection whatsoever with this case.

DS Karrie Bohanna, of the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit, said; “Webber was in a position of power at the home where there were a number of vulnerable children.

“The volume of offending against these victims where they should have been safe having been taken into care to protect them, is truly shocking.”

Webber’s actions, police said he ‘must have thought would be concealed for ever,’ came to light in March 2016 when a brave victim came forward.

DS Bohanna added: “The victims in this case have shown great courage, ultimately giving evidence against a man who many trusted like a father.

“This case is another example of how seriously we take complaints of a historic nature. ”

Webber was convicted of 26 out of 29 sexual offences the previous Wednesday after a five-week trial.

The convicted paedophile was previously jailed in 2001 for possessing 20,000 indecent images of children.

Don Grasty, who assisted in the managing the home, faced 23 sexual offence charges, allegedly committed against six boys.

But the 94-year-old, from Selsey, West Sussex, died in March this year.

By Ben Gelblum and Laura Sharman

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