London: An elderly couple in north London has been jailed for a total of 21 years, for locking up 5 children and abusing them for over three decades.
According to a report in Daily Mail, 73-year-old Valerie Stannard and 74-year-old Roy Stannard were convicted by the Snaresbrook Crown Court for 18 out of 22 charges in March for the crime they committed between 1969 and 1985. They were charged for sexual abuse, neglect and child cruelty. Valerie was jailed for nine years and Roy for 12 years.
The children were locked up in a basement dungeon in the couple’s home in Stoke Newington, north London, the report said. They were thrashed with a bamboo cane or belt and would have soap forced down their throats.
Valerie had held a boy’s hand over a stove flame and stuffed a lit paper into another boy’s pyjamas. Roy had punched a child like he would punch a grown up. He would also make them steal things for him to sell and made one of the girls undress for his sexual pleasure on six occasions.
They would also put a limit on how much food the children consumed, the report said. Valerie would draw lines on the milk bottles to measure how much milk the children drank. She would beat them up if they had more than they were allowed to. When social services visited the couple’s home, they covered up well and pretended everything was fine.
One of the girls was made to do all the household chores and treated like a maid-servant, said the report. The children experience or witnessed abuse on an almost daily basis. “They lived in fear of speaking out or standing up for themselves or each other”, said prosecutor Sally-Ann Hales, QC.
Police launched an investigation into the incident in July 2014. During the trial, the couple had denied all charges against them. However, Roy was convicted of four counts of child cruelty and six of indecent assault while Valerie was convicted of eight counts of child cruelty.