Foster carer convicted of abuse

A foster carer who inflicted years of abuse on girls in her care has been found guilty of six counts of child cruelty at Norwich Crown Court. Elizabeth Roe, 64, of Hall Road, Norwich, had denied the charges of cruelty against six girls between 1974 and 1991 but was convicted by a jury.

A foster carer who inflicted years of abuse on girls in her care has been found guilty of six counts of child cruelty at Norwich Crown Court.

Elizabeth Roe, 64, of Hall Road, Norwich, had denied the charges of cruelty against six girls under the age of 16 between 1974 and 1991 but was convicted by a jury after just three hours of deliberation.

Her husband Walter Roe, 64, earlier admitted four charges of indecent assault against two girls who were aged between 12 and 14 at the time of the incidents. The couple will be sentenced in February and could face jail terms.

Speaking outside court one of the victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the EDP: “This verdict is a huge relief. As a result of this abuse I have suffered years of depression and anxiety. At least now I have some closure.”

The court heard how the Roes had cared for more than one hundred children on behalf of Norfolk Social Services. Neighbours and friends had suspicions about the abuse but had not reported them as they feared they would not be taken seriously.

The abuse included the girls being punched and beaten with items including a broom handle and a wooden spoon - on one occasion one of the girls suffered such severe bruising to her hands that she could not take part in a piano lesson.

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The prosecution also said that the girls were made to work like “slaves” on household chores; were mentally abused and humiliated in front of others; and were only given very basic food, sometimes being starved.

Det Con Sarah Lowe, from Norfolk police, said: “We received an official complaint from one of the victims and from that we started to look into the case in more detail and found that other youngsters had suffered at the hands of this couple.

“The ongoing ordeals these victims suffered were particularly appalling considering they were inflicted by two people who were supposed to be caring for them at a difficult time in their young lives.

“Walter and Betty Roe abused the positions of trust they had been placed in and heaped emotional and physical abuse on vulnerable youngsters who had nowhere to turn.

“This case clearly shows that even if offences happened some time in the past you can still come forward and report them - it's never too late, you will be taken seriously and we will thoroughly investigate your complaint.

“In this case it has resulted in two people being brought to justice for offences which happened between ten and 20 years previously and which they probably thought they had got away with.”