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Couple jailed for child cruelty

News   •  May 07, 2017 14:46 BST

[Image: Roy Stannard]

A husband and wife have been jailed for a total of 21 years for a catalogue of physical and emotional abuse against children.

Valerie Stannard, 73 (23.2.44) and Roy Stannard, 74, (24.8.42) both of Barge Lane E3 subjected their young victims to harrowing physical and sexual abuse from 1969 until the 1980s.

One child had tissue put down the front of his pyjamas and set fire to; another had his hand placed on a gas fire while more children recounted numerous beatings with belts, sticks and other weapons as well as sexual assaults.

Valerie Stannard was found guilty of nine counts of child cruelty on Friday, 24 March following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Count and was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment on Thursday, 4 May.

Her husband was found guilty of three counts of child cruelty and six counts of sexual assault on a girl. He was jailed for 12 years.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Janet Glover, from the Met's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: "The victims suffered many years of horrendous abuse and cruelty at the hands of the Stannards, that has left them emotionally scarred for life.

"I truly hope the Stannards' conviction and sentencing will help bring them some closure despite the couple showing not a shred of compassion or remorse for their actions.

"I would like to pay tribute to the victims for their tremendous courage in coming forward and giving evidence in this case. The Metropolitan Police is committed to investigating such offences against children, historic or otherwise, and will strive to bring offenders to justice. I would encourage anyone who suspects offences have or are being committed against children to report their concerns to police, children's social services or the NSPCC."

The court heard the offences against both boys and girls took place at an address in Milton Grove, Stoke Newington where the Stannards lived at the time.

They subjected their five victims, both boys and girls, to years of abuse. From a very young age the children were forced to carry out extensive lists of chores they would have to complete before school, meaning they rarely had time for any breakfast. In fact they were rarely fed at all at the address.

One boy with learning difficulties was particularly targeted and subjected to severe emotional abuse. On one occasion Valerie Stannard shoved a bar of soap in his mouth with such force it became lodged in his throat and he almost choked.

More than one victim recalled being forced into a cupboard in the basement and left there in the dark as a punishment. Other children were beaten if they tried to intervene. One boy was tied to a highchair with a rope. The children would often be locked in their bedrooms and detailed how they were neglected and emotionally abused. Roy Stannard also carried out six sexual assaults on one girl.

The offences came to light after one of the victims, now in his 50s, found the courage to come forward and contact police. The Stannards were arrested on 15 July 2014 and subsequently charged.