A crown court jury has concluded an 82-year-old man sexually and physically abused two boys in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Keith Lancaster, of Lulworth Cove, Dorset, used his position as a Child Care Officer – now known as a social worker – to groom and assault two teenagers at locations across Bristol.
A Trial of the Facts recently took place at Bournemouth Crown Court after Lancaster was found not fit to stand trial.
Evidence was presented to a jury in relation to eight offences and it subsequently ruled he had committed them.
During the hearing, the jury were told how Lancaster took one of his victims to a restaurant as a “treat” before sexually abusing him at a secluded area of the Ashton Court estate.
Aged in his 20s and 30s at the time, Lancaster returned to the same wooded area near the deer park on several occasions with the boy to repeatedly assault him.
The jury also heard of another occasion in which he invited his victim to his house in the Portishead/ Clevedon area before abusing him.
Lancaster’s second victim was also sexually abused around the same time.
The court was told the vulnerable teenager had been abused by another man before he met Lancaster – who pretended to be his confidant before he himself attacked him.
The boy was sexually assaulted up to six times before he turned 18 – when the local authority stopped being responsible for his care.
Lancaster refused to cooperate with police investigating allegations against him – denying he was even employed as a Child Care Officer and denying working with his victims.
However, officers managed to obtain records from HMRC which proved he was employed by The Bristol Corporation (now Bristol City Council) at the time of the offences.
Following the hearing, Lancaster was told he will have to sign the sex offenders’ register for the next five years.
Detective Inspector Neil Meade, the senior investigating officer, said: “Lancaster is a predatory sex offender who exploited his position to take advantage of young, vulnerable boys.
“His victims looked up to him as someone who was there to help but instead they had to suffer horrendous abuse over a sustained period of time.
“I want to pay tribute to the tremendous courage they’ve shown in disclosing what Lancaster did to them.
“Without their support, his heinous actions may well have gone unproven and I don’t underestimate the bravery it must’ve taken to talk publically about what happened.”
He added: “While it’s unfortunate for the victims Lancaster wasn’t fit to stand trial, I hope the jury’s belief in them and what they endured gives them some sense of closure.
“I also hope this case gives other victims of sexual offences the courage to come forward and report incidents to us, no matter how long ago they were committed.”
If you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse, recent or non-recent, you don’t have to speak to the police. You can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7 365 days a year. Visit their website via this link – or call 0117 342 6999.