Jury sent home in care home sex abuse trial

PUBLISHED: 17:09 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 24 May 2019

Joseph Douglas Hewitt in 1995. Photo: Archant Library

Joseph Douglas Hewitt in 1995. Photo: Archant Library

Archant Library

A jury considering allegations of rape and sexual assault against the former head of a Norwich children’s home have been sent home after eight hours of deliberations.

Woodlands Observation and Assessment Centre in March 1974. Picture: Archant archivesWoodlands Observation and Assessment Centre in March 1974. Picture: Archant archives

Joseph Douglas Hewitt was officer in charge of the Woodlands Observation and Assessment Centre, off Dereham Road, between 1974 and 1983.

In 1995 Hewitt was convicted of six counts of rape and sexual assault involving five girls at the home, committed in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The 79-year-old has been standing trial at King's Lynn Crown Court having denied allegations from five fresh alleged victims - three men and two women - who had been children at the home between 1978 and 1983.

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After five weeks of evidence the jury has retired to consider its verdicts.

Hewitt, of Snelsmoor Lane, Chellaston, Derby, has denied two counts of rape, two of a serious sexual offence, two of indecent assault and two of gross indecency.

He has also maintained his innocence over the 1995 convictions.

The jury has been sent home for the Bank Holiday weekend, to return at midday on Tuesday.

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