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Two on Trial for Alleged Child Abuse at Wisteria Lodge in Coventry

Two former workers at a Coventry children’s home have gone on trial at Warwick Crown Court facing a total of 22 offences against children.

Lady Justice Figurine

Alan Todd and Kenneth Owen, both former child support workers at Wisteria Lodge in Earlsdon, Coventry, are accused of abusing youngsters during their time at the children’s home in the 1980s.

Todd, 69, pleaded not guilty to five counts of child cruelty and nine counts of indecent assault against children whilst Owen, also 69, pleaded not guilty to five charges of child cruelty and three counts of indecent assault.

Accusations were brought by nine people who were all under 16 at the time of the alleged abuse.

Prior to the trial, both men were on conditional bail and were denied unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

Three Categories of Abuse

On the first day of the trial, the court heard how Todd and Owen would intimidate young children as well as use violence against them and, sometimes, also sexually abusing them.

Counsel for the prosecution, Mark Heywood QC, pointed to “three categories of abuse”, saying that children were often “bullied and subjected to humiliating and frightening treatment” by the two men.

Mr Heywood also told the court: “There were occasions when children were deliberately physically assaulted and also occasions when female children were sexually assaulted.”

Among the claims heard by the court is an allegation that Todd pushed a girl down a flight of stairs then picked her up by her ear, causing it to bleed. Other claims include the violent restraint and sexual abuse of young children who were resident at Wisteria Lodge.

The trial at Warwick Crown Court continues.

Hywel Thomas is an associate solicitor specialising in child abuse claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester,

Slater and Gordon have the most experienced team of abuse lawyers in the UK and are currently representing over 800 survivors of abuse. Many of the people we represent were abused by people in positions of trust at institutions such as schools, hospitals and children’s homes.

We offer a free and completely confidential consultation for anyone who has been affected by physical or sexual abuse and give you our assurance that any communication with us will be dealt with in absolute confidence.

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