Updated picture of Alyson Mepham (2022) at bottom of report

December 2011

Leicester child abuse pair named and shamed by victims

Two “wicked” paedophiles are today being publicly named and shamed at the request of their victims.

Stepfather Mark Thomas (and his brother Paul Thomas were each jailed for 18 years yesterday after being convicted of a catalogue of sex crimes against two youngsters.

They are being identified thanks to the bravery of the victims, Mark Thomas’ step-children, who wanted their abusers names publicised – at the risk of revealing their own identities – in case anyone else has suffered at their hands.

The brothers systematically raped and abused the youngsters from the ages of four and five years old.

The stepchildren – a boy, now 15, and his 16-year-old sister – yesterday said their abusers had robbed them of “any semblance of a normal childhood”.

The teenage girl said: “They imprisoned us in our bedrooms and now they’re having a taste of their own medicine.

“We’d like to thank our foster parents, who have been very special in our lives, for all their love and support through some very difficult years.”

At the hearing yesterday, the children’s birth mother, Alyson Mepham, was also jailed for two-and-a-half years after admitting cruelty by neglect.

She turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of two of her five children who were kept caged behind a specially made iron gate.

Leicester Crown Court was told that as youngsters, the brother and sister were starved, beaten and sexually abused on a weekly basis, and trapped in a squalid bedroom with no lighting at their then-home in Ibstock, north west Leicestershire.

The “fear and cruelty” started in 1999 and continued until 2002, despite social services knowing of their plight, the court was told.

They were finally taken into care in 2002.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Hammond said: “These children were grossly neglected.

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Pictures of the home where the children lived

“They were shown no love and affection. The house was filthy, they were locked in their bedrooms and had to urinate on the floor.

“They were kept hungry, sworn at, slapped, suffered chronic head lice, were inappropriately dressed and had a difficult time at school.

“They had their innocence stripped from them.”

Judge Hammond praised the dignity and courage of the victims – who were in court for the sentencing – and their foster parents, whom he described as “saints”.

He said of the Thomas brothers: “They’re wicked men who shared these children over three or four years, abusing them for their sexual gratification.”

He said Mepham ran a “cruel and oppressive regime,” favouring three other younger children she had with then-partner Mark Thomas over the two victims from a former relationship.

Mepham (40), of Seagrave Close, Coalville, gripped on to a glass panel in the dock with one hand, clasped a handkerchief in the other and bowed her head as she was sentenced.

Mark Thomas (46), of North Marine Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and Paul Thomas, of Jersey Road, Mowmacre Hill, Leicester, (42), showed no emotion.

Both men, who had denied rape and sexual assault, were banned from ever working with children, ordered to enlist on a sex offenders’ register for life and made the subject of an indeterminate sexual offences prevention order.

Mark Thomas admitted cruelty towards his two step-children at an earlier hearing.

Mark Thomas was convicted of two counts of rape, four counts of gross indecency with a child, two counts of indecent assault on a male and two counts of wilfully neglecting a child under 14.

Paul Thomas was convicted of two counts of rape, four counts of gross indecency with a child and four counts of indecent assault on a male.

Judge Hammond said: “I hope now these victims have been believed they can move on with their lives. I’m pleased they’re now in a home where they can be loved and appreciated.

“Their foster parents have given them the security, love and affection they needed.”