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Coventry family jailed for horrific child abuse

Antony Potts has been jailed for life

Five members of the same Coventry family have been jailed for child abuse offences committed over a 30 year period.

The offences range from neglect to sexual assault and rape of children aged between two and 15, which happened over a period of more than 30 years.

Antony Potts, of Milverton Road in Wood End was yesterday jailed for life by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court.

He was earlier convicted of 13 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, nine counts of inciting a child to perform a sexual act and cruelty - all against children

The 49 year old will serve at least 16 years before he can be considered for parole.

His parents, Keith and Julie Potts, were convicted of two counts of child cruelty.

They got eight years and seven years in jail respectively.

Antony's wife, Elaine Potts, and family friend Joanne Hoye, had both pleaded guilty to neglect last year.

They both got four years in jail.

26 year old Joshua Potts, of Burnaby Road, Holbrooks will serve 16 years - then a further eight on licence - admitted multiple counts of rape and sexual assault against children.

26 year old Nathan Potts will be sentenced in August.

Two 17-year-old boys also on trial were found not guilty. 

A 52-year-old woman on trial for aiding and abetting sexual offences resulted in a hung jury. 

Antony Potts first came to the attention of police in 1989 when a young woman reported being abused by him as a child over a six year period, but the case was never brought to trial and, two years ago, was eventually referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

In May 2015, three children - all under the age of 14 - disclosed that they had been abused by Potts and others to a third party, who reported the allegations to police, but in July of that year it was deemed there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the perpetrators. 

Following exploration of facts within the Family Court and the testimony of a fifth person, the case was re-opened in January 2016 and the full extent of the abuse began to unfold resulting in three further cases being identified.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Rachel Gregory, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: "This is one of the worst cases of systematic and horrifying child sexual abuse that I have ever seen.

"The investigation was complex and a lot of time and care was spent with the survivors in helping them to find the courage to talk about what happened to them and to ensure we could present the best possible evidence to the court, but also to make sure that their welfare was the primary consideration.

“I hope that the sentences handed to the defendants goes some way to help them rebuild their lives.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jo Floyd, the senior investigating officer, added: "All the children have been safeguarded and are receiving on-going support to help them come to terms with their abuse.

"I would urge anyone who has suffered any type of sexual abuse either currently or historically to get in touch with us. It is never too late for us to investigate this type of crime and we are determined to bring perpetrators to justice. 

"Our officers are highly trained specialists in this field who work with a number of agencies and can offer support through the criminal process." 

A Serious Case Review to scrutinise the safeguarding procedures for the children involved and what lessons can be learned is underway by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).


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