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Jail for ex hotel owner after he raped vulnerable young boys

Jail for ex hotel owner after he raped vulnerable young boys

by Ollie Cowan (July 2017)

A FORMER Southport guest house owner who raped two vulnerable boys with his husband has been  jailed for 15 years.

John Aspin and his partner, who has died since the allegations came to light, raped the boys during sordid threesomes.

They plied their first victim with drugs and alcohol and took their other victim to the basement of a friend’s hotel, where they subjected him to “violent sex” against his will.

66-year-old Aspin, of Knowsley Road, Southport,  had been convicted of nine sex offences involving the boys, both aged 14, and acquitted of two others involving the boys, both aged 14, 

Bryant was initially charged with seven indecent assault offences and would have stood trial alongside Aspin, but he died in August last year.

Ben Jones, prosecuting, said that a key feature of the prosecution case was that the two victims were unknown to each other and there was similarity in their allegations.

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, told Aspin: “I can’t overlook the reality of this case, that while you and William Bryant lived lives to the full, your victims’ lives were ruined.”

Liverpool Crown Court heard the attacks happened in the 1970s and 1980s, when the children were 14 and Aspin aged between 26 and 33.

The first boy visited the hotel one night when Aspin plied him with drinks, before he started rubbing his leg and kissing him.

Aspin told the frightened child “don’t worry, don’t panic”, adding “you know you’re probably gay don’t you?” then made him perform sex acts.

Judge Flewitt said of the victim: “He has been profoundly affected by the sexual abuse and mental cruelty which he suffered at your hands and the hands of your partner.

“That is a burden he has carried for many years and which I have no doubt he will carry for the rest of his life.”

The second victim was getting changed in toilets when Aspin came in and indecently assaulted him.

Judge Flewitt said: “That was his first sexual experience with a man and he was afraid of anybody finding out he was gay.”

On another occasion, the boy said he “wanted to show he was mature and able to cope with being gay” and suggested going to their hotel.

Judge Flewitt said: “You said he couldn’t but said you had a friend with a hotel with a basement where you wouldn’t be disturbed.”

The judge said the boy was “far too young to have consented in any meaningful way”.

In his impact statement read to the court the first victim told how “the events of his childhood had always been a burden on him” and had affected his self esteem and intimidated him.

He felt that the two men tried to control him, even after he went away and came back to Southport. He was angry he had not reported it many years ago and as a masculine man did not want anyone thinking he was gay.

His anger had affected his conduct as a husband and father and it had created difficulties within his marriage. He had bumped into the two men years later in a Southport shop and had a panic attack.

The second victim told in his impact statement how he had felt “a paralysing sense of fear” when he was invited to an event more than 30 years after the abuse because he knew the men who raped him would be there.

He described his adult life involving addictive behaviour, alcohol dependency, depression and a suicide attempt in 2008 and how he felt his life may not have developed in the way it did but for his childhood trauma.

Aspin had denied all the allegations and told the court that he had never even met the second victim. As he was led to the cells he covered his face with his hand before waving to 13 supporters in the public gallery.

Mark Tomassi, defending, said that that victim had been “disgracefully treated and I have no doubt he will never forget what took place. He is a decent man, articulate and clever.”

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