November 2002

Sex offender locked up after 22 years of child abuse

A MAN who sexually abused boys and girls over 22 years was jailed on Tuesday for 12 years after a judge branded him a continuing danger to children.

Robert Baker Foster, 57, raped or indecently assaulted three girls and two boys, in some cases many times, over a number of years.

Durham Crown Court was told the offences began in about 1980 and Neil Davey QC said there was an element of grooming the victims, who were mostly vulnerable youngsters.

Foster, of Ruskin Avenue, Saltburn, a former ICI worker, admitted two specimen rape counts involving girls aged 14 and 15. He also pleaded guilty to eight counts of indecent assault involving all five victims, including a girl aged five and a boy of seven. Mr Davey said the offending came to light when one of the victims, now 17, confided in his brother in January and their father reported it to police.

Chris Knox, mitigating, said Foster, had no previous convictions and there was no suggestion of the use of violence in any of the offending.

Imposing the 12-year sentence, Judge David Bryant said: “I regard you as a continuing danger to children and I regard this as the shortest sentence to protect children.”

Judge Bryant ordered that Foster be placed permanently on the sex offenders’ register. He also ordered ten further counts to be left on file.