Jury hears accounts of historical abuse at the hands of Caister man

Robert Brown, of Eastern Avenue, Caister is on trial accused of sexually abusing five boys at a chil

Robert Brown, of Eastern Avenue, Caister is on trial accused of sexually abusing five boys at a childrens home where he worked in the 1970s. - Credit: Supplied

A man has told a jury how an allegedly abusive children's home boss once punched him so hard that the blow sent him flying off a stool and through a doorway.

Robert Brown, of Eastern Avenue, Caister, is on trial accused of sexually abusing five boys at a children's home where he worked in the 1970s.

Brown, 69, lived at the home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, at the time. He has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of indecent assault on five boys in the 1970s.

Two witnesses told the Warwick Crown Court jury of incidents which took place during trips from Manor Court Road children's home to Brown's home town of Great Yarmouth.

Prosecutor David Jackson said: 'This is a case, over the years, of systematic abuse of vulnerable young people, and some more vulnerable than others.'

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Brown has also denied six charges of cruelty towards three of the boys, two other boys and a girl, and attempting to have sex with one boy.

One alleged victim said while he was in bed, Brown would come into the room and abuse him.

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The man, whose video-recorded police interview was played to the jury, said it happened on a regular basis.

The jury heard children were taken away on trips, sometimes to Great Yarmouth where more alleged abuse took place.

Of the long-lasting effects of the alleged abuse, the man said: 'Every year it gets worse than the last year. I think about it all the time.'

Giving evidence from behind a screen in court, another alleged victim of both physical cruelty and sexual abuse said his first encounter with Brown was when he was at another home and was told he was being transferred to Manor Court Road.

'I made it clear I did not want to leave,' he said. 'I sought sanctuary in the toilets, in a cubicle which I knew had a lock on. Bob punched the door so hard and smashed it to pieces. It was completely off and smashed. I couldn't believe what had happened. I was traumatised and frightened to death.'

He said Brown ran the home 'with an iron fist' and getting on the wrong side of him would result in a beating.

He said: 'Pain became ritualistic; it was expected. You wouldn't need to provoke Bob, if he took a dislike to you, he took a dislike to you, there was nothing you could do.'

He recalled an incident when he said he was sitting on a stool in the kitchen at the home, talking to a residential social worker about the way Brown had a habit of nodding in mid-sentence.

'Bob came into the kitchen and spoke to me and I mimicked the action. Bob took it on himself to punch me so hard that it knocked me off the stool, and I landed in the laundry room next to the kitchen. It was approximately five metres.'

Asked by Mr Jackson whether he had seen Brown being violent to other boys, he recalled other incidents, including one involving an older boy who was about 14 at the time.

The witness said: 'I saw Bob Brown assault him at the bottom of the stairs and punched him so hard that he punched him up a couple of stairs.'

He also told the court of an alleged sexual assault.

Asked if he ever went on trips from the home, he replied: 'Yes, we went to Yarmouth, which Bob knows well. I believe it was his home town. We stayed at a caravan site in Caister.'

He said the normal practice was that the boys would get changed in a bedroom, but on one occasion Brown made them all change together in the living area, with him present.

The witness denied suggestions by Brown's barrister that he had made up the allegations of violence and that the alleged sexual abuse incident would have been 'a prank'.

The trial continues.

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