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Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Abuse victims fight for name change
Children playing
Children as young as five were abused
Victims who were abused by a paedophile at an Essex children's home are fighting to change the name of a street which was named after him.

Prescott Close in Hornchurch was built on the site of the former St Leonard's Children's home and named after the man who was ran the home for Tower Hamlets Council - Alan Prescott.

The 62-year-old was jailed for two years on 8 October after he admitted indecently assaulting four boys at the home between 1970 and 1980.

His co-accused William Starling, 74, was jailed for 14 years after being found guilty of 19 offences, including two rapes, over a period of 20 years.

Home demolished

Prescott, a former magistrate and Labour councillor, is now free after spending half of his two year sentence on remand.

Although the home has been demolished, victims of Prescott and Starling say the name of the street must also be changed.

One victim, who suffered constant sexual abuse for eight years, said: "If I went and complained he would say 'Well, who'll believe you? You're mad', so all our lives we believed we were liars.

"We had to do it, because he was an authority, and we were nobody.

"Nobody cared about us."

'Influence and power'

Detective Sergeant Lynn McKie of the Metropolitan Police said she was pleased that she had finally got justice for some of teh victims of the abuse.

She said: "Mr Prescott's respectability was very important to him.

"He went to great lengths to hide his actions.

"Those who were abused by Prescott and Starling are now fighting to change the name of the close.

"The sign, like the home, they say, must be destroyed."

Residents who live on the street agreed.

One of them, Anna Brown, said: "Yes, I'm definitely for it.

"I don't want my home named after a man who abused children"

Prescott's name will remain on the sex offenders list for 10 years.


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