Rapist gets 20 years after justice system finally believes his victims

A SCOTTISH care home worker who groomed and raped teenage girls for more than a decade has been jailed for 20 years. James Boyes abused a string of underage girls at Frant Court care home in Frant, East Sussex, during the 1980s and 1990s, leaving one so traumatised she is still being treated in a secure mental hospital.

Brighton Crown Court heard how he escaped justice for years because the authorities refused to believe his victims, despite a string of complaints. The home was closed after a major police investigation in the 1990s.

But Boyes, 56, originally from Dumfries, evaded justice for another eight years after he absconded during a 2002 trial.

He was recaptured after he featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme’s most wanted last September. He admitted two rapes and 14 assaults at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Paul Tain said: “It’s difficult to imagine a worse case, I think. I can just about imagine it, but it’s hard.

“One of the offences was a horrendous, abusive, painful, disgusting rape.

“You knew that they would not be believed because it was only about that time that the authorities started to realise that allegations by children should be believed.

“Your personal culpability is at the 100 per cent level. You were in a position of responsibility, you had access to their medical records and you knew the mechanisms of the care system.

“You knew that the people they could complain to would not investigate.”

Boyes, also known as James Cruickshank Boyes, was arrested at his home in Ditton, Kent, shortly after the Crimewatch programme prompted a flood of calls.

Police said his distinctive appearance meant he was easily recognisable from the old photographs.

Frant Court started as a convent where nuns looked after disadvantaged teenage girls. It was later taken over by London’s Greenwich Council, which sent some of its most difficult cases to the residential home. It was closed in the late 1980s but reopened privately until it was shut in the 1990s. It was converted into flats in 2006.

Some of the six girls Boyes is known to have violated had been removed from their families after suffering sexual abuse at home.

Prosecutor Rob Hall said: “Through his employment he was able to access personal details of all the girls in the home.

“He was a trusted member of staff and rose to the position of key worker. This meant he was trusted with direct pastoral care of emotionally disturbed girls.

“He would take them to counselling sessions, assist them with pocket money.

“He made them feel special, but ultimately that meant they were vulnerable to the sexual abuse he inflicted on them in secrecy.”