August 2011

Ex-sweet shop owner jailed for child sex offences

A FORMER bucket and spade shop owner has been jailed for raping a girl and indecently assaulting another in the 1980s.

Gift shop owner Harry Yeomans (pictured), 75, of Torquay Road, Paignton, owned a number of Teignmouth shops including one at the end of the pier which was a ‘magnet’ for children.

The rapes happened after he groomed and befriended the girls who came into his sweet shop.

At Exeter Crown Court, he admitted rape, five indecent assaults and indecency with a child. He was jailed for seven and a half years.

The court was told the offences took place between 1982 and 1985, when the girls were aged 11 to 13.

The court heard Yeomans owned a sweet shop on Regent Street, a video shop, and a bucket and spade shop on the town’s pier where some of the incidents happened.

Yeomans raped and sexually assaulted one of the girls in the upstairs stock room of his video shop and also gave her money, the court heard.

Prosecutor David Sapiecha said the pier shop was ‘a magnet for children nearby’.

The court heard one of the victims had not told police until 2009 because she felt guilty and to blame for what happened.

Defence barrister Mary McCarthy said in mitigation Yeomans was in poor health, had no previous convictions and had not been in trouble since the historic abuse.

Judge Graham Cottle said he groomed both girls he befriended through his sweet shop.

He said Yeomans would have to serve five years before he was released from jail.

He was also ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life.