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Tuesday, December 15, 1998 Published at 15:45 GMT


Barnardo's carer jailed

Phillip Dunne: Abused those who sought protection

A former worker at a Barnardo's home in North Yorkshire who "wickedly" abused the children in his care has been jailed for 11 years.

Richard Wells at York Crown Court: "Some of the offences were committed 30 years ago"
Judge Arthur Myerson at York Crown Court said that Phillip Anthony Dunne had taken advantage of vunerable youngsters for his own sexual gratification between 1967 and 1974.

As he was led from the court, some of Dunne's victims and their families shouted abuse. A spokesman for the children's charity said it had been "devastated" by the case.

Dunne, aged 52, of Worcester, was arrested in June this year after one of the former residents of the Spring Hill Barnardo's Home, Ripon, North Yorkshire, which cared for children with behavioural and learning difficulties, made a complaint to the police.

[ image: Refuge: Home became scene of abuse]
Refuge: Home became scene of abuse
After a huge police inquiry, Dunne admitted earlier this month to 14 charges of indecent assault, three of serious sexual assault and two of cruelty to children relating to 12 boys and one girl aged between six and 15.

A further eight charges were left to lie on file.

Cold baths

Prosecuting, James Spencer QC told the court that Dunne's abuse had begun almost immediately after he joined the home in 1967.

He had sought to establish control "by violence or by emotional grooming," Mr Spencer said.

"He sought to be able to engage these children in sexuality activity when he liked and without any repercussions for himself.

"In that he was successful, at least during his time there."

[ image: Victims: Some shouted abuse in court]
Victims: Some shouted abuse in court
Dunne, who had no child care qualifications, became a senior house parent at the home and forced boys to take cold baths and strip in front of others. At other times he slapped the children, the court heard.

For Dunne, Nigel Sangster QC said his client had himself been a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

It had only been when he married in the 1970s that he "realised the error of his behaviour" and had gone on to lead a productive life, said Mr Sangster.

"He is aware that what he did was appalling and he feels full of remorse," he added.

Compensation claim

Billhar Singh Uppal, solicitor for the victims, said that they would be launching a compensation action.

"For the majority of them this has been a terrible time," he said.

"Victims did not come forward earlier because there is an innate sense of shame, of guilt, of having brought this upon themselves."

John Tebbet, Barnardo's director of communication services, said: "Our hearts go out to each and every person who has suffered."

He said the charity had worked closely with police to bring Dunne to justice and had introduced new measures to prevent such abuse happening again.

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