Sept 2011

Church helper Peter Holland jailed for abusing children

A predatory paedophile who volunteered at churches and scout groups in order to groom boys whom he sexually abused has been jailed for six years.

Peter Holland from Nottinghamshire admitted abusing 12 boys aged eight to 14 between 1974 and 1993. Police think there could be hundreds more victims.

He was caught when one man came forward to say he was assaulted as a child.

Holland, 79, of Bankfield Drive in Bramcote Hills, Beeston, was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to 10 counts of gross indecency and 15 counts of indecent assault.

Judge Jeremy Lea, sentencing, said Holland was “a manipulative, calculating and predatory paedophile”.

“Since the early 70s you led your life so as to create opportunities to spend time with boys and gained the trust of those who took care of them, their parents.

“You clothed yourself in respectability in order to increase your opportunity to abuse, in the way you did.

“You targeted boys of a prepubescent age – they felt shame, embarrassment and did what many do – blamed themselves.

“They lived in the shadow of what you did for many years before they had the courage to come forward.

“The lives that you ruined over the years was done for your own purposes and pleasure,” he said.

Facebook appeal

After the first victim – who is now 38 – contacted police, officers raided Holland’s three-bedroom house and found more than 3,000 photographs in the loft.

Many were non-sexual pictures of men or boys, but all were meticulously filed and numbered with names, locations, dates, and the ages of his subjects.

In order to try to trace the victims, police cross-referenced databases from other forces and set up a Facebook page to contact potential victims.

As part of their investigations, it emerged that Holland had been convicted of seriously assaulting five young boys in Wiltshire in 1959, shortly after leaving the RAF.

Nottinghamshire Police eventually traced a further 12 men – now aged between 33 and 51 – who had been abused.

All made similar allegations to the first victim, and said they had been sexually assaulted by Holland between the ages 11 and 15.

The attacks took place at a number of different locations in Nottingham, with one taking place inside a church, the court heard.

‘Incredible courage’

Det Con Perveez Rashid, who led the investigation, said: “Holland is a manipulative and cunning predator who targeted young, vulnerable boys to satisfy his own perverse pleasure.

“His victims have shown incredible strength and courage in coming forward. They have suffered in silence for many years and have lived with the long and enduring pain of childhood abuse.”

The Nottinghamshire force is continuing to appeal for anyone else abused as a child to come forward.

“All victims will be treated with respect and sensitivity and we will do all we can to secure a conviction to prevent people like Holland from harming anyone else,” Det Con Rashid said.