BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Foster family jailed for 'sadistic treatment'
Jeffrey and Brenda tanner
Jeffrey and Brenda Tanner were convicted of cruelty
A Cambridgeshire foster couple and their three adult children have been jailed for abusing and assaulting young people in their care.

Jeffrey Tanner, 55, and his wife Brenda, 53, from Peterborough, were convicted in April of a string of offences against three people, including two children.

On Wednesday Jeffrey Tanner was jailed for seven years and his wife for three-and-a-half years.

Their children, Preston, 20, Aaron, 25, and Tammy, 28, were given prison sentences for mistreating one of their parents' victims.


Your ill-treatment of vulnerable people was sustained and sadistic

Judge Isobel Plumstead

At King's Lynn Crown Court Judge Isobel Plumstead described the family as a "cruel dynasty".

"Jeffrey Tanner showed no remorse or sympathy. The children (his victims) suffered sustained and sadistic ill-treatment."

Tanner, described by the judge as "depraved and cruel", had forced one boy to drink urine and eat faeces as a punishment.

Judge Plumstead told him: "You are the commander of a cruel dynasty which is neither fair or just.

"You dominated your wife and your ill-treatment of vulnerable people was sustained and sadistic and you encouraged and led your children."

Showed sympathy

The judge said to his wife Brenda: "I accept on occasion you showed sympathy for the foster children but I regard you as a secondary mover in this.

"You betrayed the trust that the children put in you."

In the Tanner house cruelty was the norm, the judge said.

One of the couple's victims was a girl put in the couple's care by Cambridgeshire County Council who employed them as foster carers in the 1980s.

Mr and Mrs Tanner also acted as unofficial foster parents to a boy, with the knowledge of social workers.

Driving force

The third victim was an adult woman who was an acquaintance of one of the Tanners' children.

Police first became involved in January 2000 when the woman in her late thirties, who has learning difficulties, claimed to have been held prisoner by the Tanners for almost a year.

At their trial in April, Jeffrey and Brenda Tanner denied all 20 charges against them.

Jeffrey Tanner, described as the "driving force" behind the abuse, was convicted of nine offences including cruelty, administering noxious substances, unlawful wounding, and assault.

He was cleared of several other counts, including indecency with a girl.

Mrs Tanner was convicted of cruelty and inflicting grievous bodily harm on a boy.

Judge Plumstead said the Tanners had been guilty of a breach of trust and exploitation.

The couple's children, Tammy, Aaron and Preston admitted putting the adult woman in fear of violence. They were jailed for terms of between a year and 18 months.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"Cambridgeshire Council admits the Tanners should never have been approved for fostering"

Click here to go to Cambridgeshire
See also:

11 Jun 02 | England
11 Jun 02 | England
17 Jul 02 | England
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes