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12 January 2024 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

‘Predatory’ ex-social worker Raymond Poyner jailed for historic child sexual abuse

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In this week’s episode, the abuse team discuss a shocking revelation that sent ripples through the community, former social worker Raymond Poyner has recently been sentenced to over five years in prison for historic indecent assaults against children. Poyner, described as a ‘predatory offender,’ committed these heinous acts in the 1970s and 1980s, leaving two victims scarred for life.

The Tragic Tale

Raymond Poyner, 73, from Weston-super-Mare, preyed upon vulnerable children during his tenure as a residential social worker in Cornwall. Avon and Somerset Police disclosed that Poyner groomed and sexually assaulted a boy under his care at a children’s home, revealing the sinister depths of his actions.

Victim Impact

The enduring trauma inflicted by Poyner’s abuse is painfully evident in the statements of his victims, now in their 50s. One victim, upon learning of Poyner’s guilty plea, broke down in tears, expressing how the abuse continues to consume his thoughts and shape his perspective on life. Trust shattered, relationships impossible to form, and a perpetual feeling of being an outsider — the impact of Poyner’s predatory actions echoes through the decades.

The Far-reaching Consequences

Poyner’s malevolence extended beyond Cornwall when he moved to Axbridge in the 1980s, where he indecently assaulted another boy. The victim, now grappling with the repercussions of abuse endured approximately four decades ago, cites ongoing difficulties in both his professional and personal life. Despite his wife’s unwavering support, the scars of Poyner’s actions linger, creating a lasting distrust of those in authority.

Judicial Response

Sentencing judge Recorder Jaron Crooknorth characterised Poyner as a predatory offender who shamelessly abused his position of trust to groom young boys. Poyner pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault in October, and in January 2021, he admitted a third charge of possessing indecent photos of children and a video. The court, recognising the gravity of his crimes, handed down a sentence of five years and one month in prison.

Moving Forward

As the survivors grapple with the aftermath of Poyner’s abuse, the hope is that their bravery in coming forward will inspire others to do the same. Detective Constable Mike Tarling, who led the investigation, emphasised the resilience of the victims and urged anyone who has experienced abuse to report it, regardless of when it occurred.


The case of Raymond Poyner serves as a stark reminder of the enduring trauma caused by child sexual abuse. It highlights the importance of vigilance within social services and the imperative for survivors to come forward, breaking the silence that often shrouds such heinous crimes. As society confronts the darkness within its institutions, the hope is that justice will prevail, and survivors will find solace in the courage to speak their truth.

Author bio

Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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