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Monday, 7 August, 2000, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Man convicted of assaulting cadets
Cardiff Crown Court
Cardiff Crown Court was told he abused two girls aged 12
A former fairground worker has been found guilty of indecently assaulting two cadets from a St John's Ambulance group being run by his wife.

Roger Gardener, 56, of Blackwood near Newport, had denied assaulting the under-age girls in his home but was convicted by a jury at Cardiff Crown Court.

He carried out the attacks over four years while Gardener's wife Margaret, 52, ran the division, the court heard.

Cardiff Crown Court was told Gardener first started abusing one of the girls when she was aged 12.

Verdict blasted

Prosecutor Marian Lewis said he "played" with her and began to indecently assault her.

The girl kept going to the group because she thought it would help her achieve her ambition to become a nurse, but she told friends what happened and later went to the police.

The second girl, also 12, was told by Gardener how "lovely" she was.

After the verdicts were read out, Mrs Gardener, now an auxilliary nurse, blasted the verdict from the public gallery.

But Judge William Gaskell reassured the jury, that they were "wholly justified".

Registered as sex offender

He said: "It is very difficult for relatives to accept what their spouses have done.

"It may well be that Mrs Gardener is wholly convinced of her husband's innocence - she hasn't heard all the evidence you have. On the evidence, you are wholly justified in your verdict."

The jury also found Gardener not guilty of two charges of indecent assault against another girl.

Gardener was ordered to register as a sex offender.

Judge Gaskell adjourned sentence for reports, but warned Gardener that all sentencing options remained open.

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