BREAKING: Three men jailed for historic abuse at Coventry children's home - The Coventry Observer

10th Aug, 2022

BREAKING: Three men jailed for historic abuse at Coventry children's home

Editorial Correspondent 28th Jan, 2019 Updated: 28th Jan, 2019

THREE men have been jailed for more than six years in total after being convicted of historical child cruelty following an eight week trial at Leamington Justice Centre.

The trio were sentenced today at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

The physical abuse happened at the former Wisteria Lodge Children’s Home in Earlsdon, Coventry, where they all worked as residential social workers.

The home, used for children in care, opened in 1970 and was demolished in 2009.

The convictions are the latest in a series of trials following allegations of brutal mistreatment and sexual assault during the 1980s and 1990s.

Four other men on trial alongside those convicted were cleared of all charges against them.

The court heard from 11 former residents, who were aged from 14 to 16 at the time, detailing how they were subjected to regular physical assaults and acts of cruelty, often citing that they were also made to spend long periods in stress positions or periods of isolation.

A three week trial, ending at the beginning of October, saw the conviction of 77-year-old Ivan McChleery, from Greens Road, Keresley, Coventry, for the sexual assault of a boy.

Two others standing trial alongside him were found not guilty.

He was remanded into custody pending the outcome of the trial for sentencing with reporting restrictions prohibiting publication of the result.

But he has been cleared of the charges of child cruelty.

He has now be sentenced for the sexual assault conviction to four years in prison and will be placed on the Sex Offender Register for life.

Reporting restrictions remained in place until today (Monday, January 28) while prosecutors considered the re-trial for charges against three defendants which resulted in a hung jury.

The investigation began in 2013 when a former resident – now aged 42 – found the courage to report the appalling abuse inflicted upon her at Wisteria Lodge from 1983-84.

Police urged other members of the public who had information to aid the investigation into the offences to contact them and officers managed to trace a total of eight other people who had suffered abuse.

And in February 2016, former care home workers Alan Todd and Kenneth Owen, both aged 70 at the time, were jailed for ill-treating children in their care.

Following their convictions, a number of other victims came forward and officers continued to investigate the abuse suffered by residents at Wisteria Lodge.

During this latest trial, which concluded on Wednesday, November 20, Alan Todd was convicted of two further charges of child cruelty.

Co-defendant Russ Garner, aged 59, from Orchard Street, Bedworth, was also found guilty of two charges of child cruelty.

Todd was sentenced to nine months to run consecutively to his current term. Garner was jailed for 15 months.

Detective inspector Wes Martin, from Coventry Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “This has been a long and complex inquiry and we commend the bravery of the survivors of Wisteria Lodge for their courage in coming forward and their tenacity during this lengthy investigation.

“The perpetrators of these cowardly acts of violence abused their positions of trust in the most despicable way.

“The children at Wisteria Lodge were already vulnerable for one reason or another, but to add physical abuse and sexual assault to that is a burden beyond most people’s comprehension.”

DI Martin added: “Survivors may only feel ready to talk about abuse they suffered many years after the incidents occurred and, whenever they do feel ready, the police and wider support services are here for them.”

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