Foster carer jailed for sex assaults

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM A taxi driver who was an approved foster carer for Norfolk Social Services was jailed for 11 years for sexually assaulting and raping a young girl and sexually abusing another.

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM

A taxi driver who was an approved foster carer for Norfolk Social Services was jailed for 11 years for sexually assaulting and raping a young girl and sexually abusing another.

Charles Phillips, 61, carried out the sex attacks more than 20 years ago but his victims only came forward recently when they found out he had been approved as a foster carer, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Phillips of Maid Marion Road, Norwich was convicted of two rapes and five indecent assaults on one girl and three indecent assaults on another girl. He had denied all the offences.

After he was sentenced, the head of children's services for Norfolk County Council moved to reassure the public that as soon as the charges came to light all children were removed from Phillips' care. The council praised the victims' bravery in coming forward and said the sentence sent out a strong message.

Jailing him, Judge Peter Jacobs told Phillips that he had been convicted by the jury following a trial and in one case he had raped a young girl when she was about 11 years old.

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He also ordered Phillips to be on the sex offenders' register for life and also made a sexual offences prevention order under which Phillips can not be left unsupervised with females under 16.

Earlier the court heard how Phillips' first victim, who is now in her 30s, said she had felt “dirty and ashamed" after she had been raped by him. She told the jury: “I never intended to do anything. It was only because I was told he was a foster carer that I felt I had to do something.”

Phillips had started off by tickling her and then sexually assaulting her before raping her between 1983 and 1985 when she was about 11 or 12. His other victim was between 12 and 14 years old when the offences occurred.

Michael Clare, mitigating, said that Phillips was of previous good character and had a lot of support from family and friends.

Lisa Christensen, director of children's services at the council, said: “These were very serious offences and we are satisfied that the gravity of what happened has been reflected by the severity of the sentence handed out today.

“We are also glad that that the victims have had the courage to bring the case to court and would applaud the message this sends out - it is never too late to bring offenders to justice.

“We wish to make it clear that the charges relate to a period many years before Mr Phillips became a foster carer in 2004. At the time when the allegations were made, no children were placed in foster care with Mr Phillips and his partner and obviously all placements were stopped once the allegations came to light.

“We can also confirm that there were no concerns raised involving any of the children - who all except one were aged under three - placed in their care between March 2004 and July 2006.”