Hampshire Constabulary’s “Operation Marmion” has recently resulted in the convictions of men who had sexually abused children.
Timothy Bleach a former teacher at Weyford Junior School was convicted of offences involving a number of girls under the age of 13 years which took place, between September 1973 and December 1980. He had pleaded not guilty but the jury found the case proved, and he was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.
In November two men who committed indecent offences against children have been jailed for a total of 14 years. Stuart Thomas Murdoch, aged 54, of Tankerville Road, Southampton, was convicted by jury at Southampton Crown Court on Monday, October 3, of five counts of sexual offences against one boy who was aged under 16 in the 1980s. A second defendant, Jack Jones, previously known as Eamond Tallon, aged 57, of North Yorkshire, admitted 14 counts of sexual offences against three boys under 16 years of age on Friday, March 4 2016, at the same court.
The allegations by two of the victims against Jones relate to offences at the former Thorold Road children’s home in Southampton in the late 1980s to early 1990s. This home was closed prior to the Operation Marmion investigation.
The abusers were prosecuted as part of Operation Marmion, which is Hampshire Constabulary’s ongoing review of non-recent child sexual exploitation (CSE) cases.
This review includes new examinations of available evidence, the offer of additional support alongside partner agencies to those affected by CSE, and the prosecution of suspects through the courts.
In January 2016 it was reported that Operation Marmion had identified over 350 potential victims and that gives a sense of the enormity of the scale that such police operations take-on.
Of course, such operations would come to nothing if the victims are not able to come forward and when they do are fully supported.
In my experience, we would have never seen such cases ten or so years ago. Attitudes towards survivors and the need to bring abusers before the courts have changed significantly and for the better but there is still a long way to go. At Hugh James we apply a holistic approach when advising and representing survivors so that they can make informed decisions about what is best for them, and this is important because having come forward this may be the first time in their lives that they can take control of the situation that the abuser has placed them in.