Caretaker Austin Kelly jailed over child abuse


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The Independent Online

A caretaker who systematically abused numerous young boys over a 30-year period has been branded a "depraved, predatory" paedophile and jailed for 13-and-a-half years.

Austin Kelly, 69, of Staffordshire Close in Everton, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to 53 counts of indecent assault, buggery and attempted buggery against nine boys under the age of 16 between 1969 and 1997.

Kelly, with unkempt grey hair and a short grey beard, sat impassively when the sentenced was passed at Liverpool Crown Court today.

Judge Brian Lewis said: "Austin Kelly, for a period of nearly three decades between the late 1960s and late 1990s you continuously and systematically groomed and abused in the most atrocious way young boys - all of whom were under 16."

The court heard that the boys were aged between eight and 15 and some were vulnerable, having difficulties with their families and with accommodation.

Judge Lewis added: "Your depravity knew very few limits. The young ones, aged eight and nine, you bathed and dried and took photographs of them."

As Kelly was taken down there were shouts of: "You are going to die," from the public gallery followed by applause for the judge.

Henry Riding, prosecuting, told the court that Kelly targeted the children, aged between nine and 15, often by befriending their families.

The court heard that some of his victims suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of Kelly, who worked as a caretaker at a large 22-storey block of flats in Liverpool.

He would entice the children to his own flat with the promise of "sweets" and the prospect of watching his "telly".

Kelly would then encourage them look at pornographic magazines and to perform numerous sex acts on him.

He would also perform sex acts on the children and take pictures on a Polaroid camera, the court was told.

Mr Riding said Kelly would get the children to perform sex acts on each other while he watched through a "peep hole" in the wall from an adjacent room.

Mr Riding said his victims were told that the abuse was "the norm" and "just part of growing up".

One victim told the police that "it will haunt him to his dying day".

Another victim said that Kelly liked to abuse him while he was wearing his school uniform.

Mr Riding said that some of the "relationships" with the boys ended when they found girlfriends and were able to escape his influence.

Another victim, a man now in his 50s, told the police that he never told anybody - not even his wife - about the abuse he had suffered as a child.

Mr Riding said he was worried that "nobody would believe a kid" and "because he was ashamed and thought it was his own fault".

Numerous victims told the police that Kelly threatened to jump off the top of his building and kill himself if they ever told anyone what he was doing to them.

Anthony O'Donohue, defending, asked the judge for credit for his client's guilty plea and said Kelly, who turns 70 on Saturday, would find prison life "difficult" due to his age.

However, Judge Lewis said Kelly had shown no remorse for his victims.

Detective Constable Jason Ennis, said: "Kelly's conviction should serve as a reminder to other offenders who seek to sexually prey on children.

"The police will use every resource available to uncover this type of offending and will result in dangerous sex offenders going to prison for a very long time.

"While this sentence cannot undo the impact these crimes have had on his victims and their families, I hope that knowing today's outcome will offer them some comfort. "