January 2022

Depraved foster carer jailed for abusing teenagers

A depraved foster carer has been locked up for a campaign of sexual offences against teenage girls.

Paul Robertson, 64, from Holsworthy, filmed himself sexually abusing one girl, groped and kissed another and set up secret cameras to film a third girl naked.

The judge jailing him at Exeter Crown Court said: “You abused them horrendously and treated them however you wished for your own sexual gratification.”

He was sent to prison for eight years and three months.

Judge Anna Richardson also highlighted safeguarding failings of the children and chances missed to stop the abuse earlier.

Two of the victims reported what Robertson was doing but they were not believed.

Prosecutor Mr Nigel Wraith said Robertson, of Coles Mill Avenue, and his wife became carers in 2009.

In 2019, police searched his home and took away a number of devices for analysis. They discovered Robertson had used mini cameras in jewellery boxes to record children and also filmed himself sexually abusing them.

He also had images of extreme pornography, bestiality and one of him having oral sex with his dog.

Robertson had repeatedly sexually abused one of the girls when she was aged between 15 and 17. He filmed himself having sex with her.

He pleaded guilty to a total of 17 offences. They included sexual activity with child by person in position of trust, voyeurism, taking indecent photos of child, making indecent photos of a child, possession extreme pornographic images and three sexual assaults.

He denied three offences relating to kissing and groping another victim but was found guilty by a jury at a trial in December.

A Sexual Harm Prevention Order and notification requirements will mitigate the risk he poses and monitor his behaviour when he is released.

Judge Richardson said Robertson had taken advantage of children who were particularly vulnerable.

She said there was a sorry background of a lack of effective and coordinated safeguarding.

One victim had raised the alarm in 2012 but she had not been believed and it was not taken any further.

Another victim had flagged his behaviour in 2013 but, despite a council meeting, no further action had been taken.

Robertson was registered with a private care provider.