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Friday, November 13, 1998 Published at 16:50 GMT


'Chickenmaster' gets 12 years

A sex abuser has been has been jailed for 12 years for his part in what police believe is one of the biggest paedophile rings ever uncovered in the UK.

Brian Turner, 60, who was nicknamed The Chickenmaster for his ability to lure vulnerable youngsters into his clutches, indecently assaulted one of them "thousands of times".

The ring may have abused up to 300 youngsters over the past 30 years.

Turner, who is a friend of child sex killer Sidney Cooke, met one of his victims through his links with a child sex gang that had infiltrated a breakaway scouts organisation.

Snaresbrook Crown Court in London heard how Turner was part of the "Dirty Dozen" child sex gang that included Sidney Cooke and others convicted of the 1985 killing of Jason Swift.

'Money tree'

Turner meticulously "groomed" three of his four most recent victims and in one case, he assaulted a child "thousands of times".

He tempted children with meals out, trips to the cinema and zoo, and even a so-called "money tree" in a park where he buried 1 coins under mounds of leaves.

Turner, whose child molesting career stretches back 31 years, showed no emotion as Judge David Radford branded him a serious and long-term danger to youngsters.

"The facts of the crimes which I have to sentence you for, your previous criminal career and the documents which I have read make it abundantly clear you are a dangerous paedophile who preys on adolescent boys to satisfy your sexual perversions," he said.

Dual assaults

The judge told Turner that a particularly aggravating feature of the case was the way one of the three boys had had to suffer joint assaults by him and another paedophile, Keith Spratt.

Spratt, 49, a scoutmaster with the UK Baden-Powell Scout Association which broke away from the main scout movement in 1970, is due to be sentenced next month.

Turner, of Cherry Road, Enfield, Middlesex, admitted 10 charges - seven of indecent assault, two of conspiracy to commit indecency and other serious sex offences. He was the third paedophile linked to the gang to be jailed so far.

Baden-Powell Scout leaders Dennis Ward, 66, and Robert Kearns, 50, got four years and 15 months respectively last month for the abuse of the 13-year-old Turner had targeted.

Mark Gadsden, prosecuting, said Turner, believed by police to have introduced Jason Swift to recently-released Cooke months before the youngster was killed, was first in court for molesting children in 1967.

History of abuse

In 1987 he was jailed for four years but within a year of his release in 1989 he had met the first of his latest victims in a park.

The youngster was just 10 years old. Not long afterwards he met the child's older brother.

"There was plainly a period of grooming or courtship, gaining their trust, taking them out and buying them meals," said Mr Gadsden.

Trips to the cinema and zoo followed, he said. His carefully crafted campaign to win them over also featured the so-called "money tree".

"He would place a 1 coin by the tree and cover it up with leaves. The boys would find the money and then come to him."

One of the brothers told officers how he was indecently assaulted five times a week every week until a day before Turner's arrest earlier this year.

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