PC [John Bates] On Sex Charges – ‘Jekyll and Hyde character’ – claim
A Spalding policeman and scoutmaster betrayed the trust put in him by indecently assaulting teenage boys, a court has heard.
John Edward Bates (35) was described as a “Jekyll and Hyde” character – on the one hand he was said to be a pillar of society, on the other a man who interfered with youngsters while they were in his care.
Spalding Guardian, Friday July 1, 1983 – Reporter: Pauline Hill
Nottingham Crown Court heard on Tuesday how Bates declared his love for a 14-year-old boy after senior police officers were called in to investigate the allegations.
Bates, of 75c Pinchbeck Road, Spalding, appeared before the court charged with 11 offences of indecently assaulting boys aged between 12 and 15 and four of committing serious sexual offences with three boys, aged 12 and 14. He pleads not guilty to all the charges.
The Judge, the Hon. Mr Justice Park, and the jury of nine men and three women heard Mr Desmond Fennell, QC, prosecuting, claim the offences were committed while Bates was a policeman, scoutmaster and later a Spalding parish church choir member.
“It is clearly a very distasteful case by any standards”, he said. “He appears to have been a Jekyll and Hyde character – a pillar of society on the one hand, on the other abusing in a very serious way the trust which had been reposed in him through the various positions he held in the community.”
Mr Fennell alleged that when the offences were brought to the attention of the police, Bates admitted indecent assault because, he said, he did not want to embarrass the boys.
He is alleged to have told Detective Chief Superintendent Ray Moyses and Detective Chief Inspector Bob Warner that he would admit indecent assault on three boys, not serious sexual offences.
He is alleged also to have told the officers: “I have lost my job and I will have to go to prison for this. I suppose the best thing I can do is consult a solicitor and take his advice.”
But, the court heard, when Bates was interviewed five weeks later he denied every accusation, and alleged that there had been a conspiracy against him.
It is said the offences were committed between 1975 and 1982, beginning when Bates served in the Royal Air Force.
Bates was in the RAF for 12 years, but at the time of the first allegation was stationed at RAF Wittering.
The court was told that in 1975, when Bates was running a scout troop at the RAF station, a youth joined the Bourne scouts.
The boy, who was then 13, met Bates on a camping trip and Bates demonstrated his friendship by buying the lad sweets and drinks during the outings.
The boy’s parents took him to RAF Wittering and had no worries when Bates invited him to his cottage at Thornhaugh, Mr Fennell told the court.
The following morning, as the boy was cooking breakfast at the cottage, Bates is alleged to have put his arm on the boy’s shoulder and touched his body.
Mr Fennell also alleged that Bates showed the youth and a friend “girlie” magazines at his cottage on another occasion, and playing cards depicting men and women in various sexual positions.
The court was told that Bates tried to touch and undress the boy, beginning his alleged advances each time by pretending to fight the boys in play.
Mr Fennell said Bates moved into a flat at 3 Gore Lane, Spalding in January 1977 and befriended another boy after joining the St Mary and St Nicolas church choir.
The lad, who was 15 at the time, was described as “a shy and reserved person by nature”.
The court heard that Bates met several other boys through his work as a policeman and scout leader, and showed some of them “blue” films and “girlie” magazines at his home.
One boy was said to have had a “mixture of admiration and hero worship” for Bates.
Mr Fennell said the allegations came to light when a complaint reached the father of one of the boys. He confronted Bates, who was said to be “absolutely shattered” by the accusations.
On June 10, 1982, Bates was spoken to by Det. Chief Supt. Moyses and Det. Chief Insp. Warner. He said he had touched one of the boys, saying they had a “very close relationship” and added: “I fell in love with him and he loves me.” Mr Fennell alleged.
The court heard Bates said he had had homosexual tendencies for about three years. Mr Fennell said Bates told the police he had been sexually assaulted as a boy, but he had never reported the incident.
At the end of the conversation, Bates is alleged to have said: “I want to thank you for the way you have treated me. You have been very fair and I appreciate the way you have dealt with this situation.”
During Tuesday afternoon, two of the youths named in the charges appeared to give evidence.
Cross-examined about the allegations, the Bourne youth said he did not like Bates touching him but thought he was joking at the time.
The youth, now 20, told Mr Brian Smedley, QC, defending, that he had seen “girlie” magazines before being shown them by Bates.
But he denied that Bates was merely being friendly when he put his arm on his shoulder.
The other, whom Bates had befriended at choir practice, told the court Bates had always taken the initiative in their friendship.
On Wednesday morning Mr Smedley said the choirboy had made up the accusations “to get his own back”, as he was jealous of Bates’ other friendships in Spalding.
But the youth, now 21, said: “I wouldn’t do that, I wouldn’t go through all this just to get my own back.”
The other Bourne youth, who has since joined the RAF, claimed he was shown hard core films named “Nymphomania” and “Love Nest” by Bates.
At the start of the proceedings the jury was not allowed to return while legal points about the films were discussed. Later in the morning the jury was instructed to leave while a further discussion on the films took place.
A local youth told the court on Wednesday afternoon how, when he was aged 11, he had been assaulted by Bates who was in police uniform at the time.
The boy, now 16, said he was often visited by Bates at his home near Spalding where the incident took place.
The boy said Bates assaulted him while they were alone in the house, telling him he would teach him about “the birds and the bees”.
One Friday afternoon after school, as the boy was waiting at Bates’ Gore Lane flat, to be taken home by his mother, Bates fondled and kissed him.
During another incident, while the boy’s sister was in the flat, Bates suggested he and the boy should play hide and seek in the toilet.
When the boy was 14 Bates indecently assaulted him – once again while he was in uniform – at the lad’s home.
In December, 1981, Bates took the boy to a Scout party in Spalding, and afterwards to a local pub.
They returned to Bates’ home then in Pinchbeck Road, where after watching TV, the Scoutmaster tried to commit a serious offence with him on the settee.
Afterwards when the boy had prevented him Bates asked him to share his double bed and another indecent assault took place.
Three days before Christmas, Bates arrived at the boy’s home in uniform and sent his sister to the shop to buy chocolate. He then took the boy up to his mother’s bedroom.
“I said I didn’t want to do it any more, but he said it was all right between two people who liked each other”, the youth told the court.
“I said it was only good between a man and a woman but he said he did it with men and women.”
Mr Smedley, cross examining the youth, claimed he had not spent the night after the scout party in Bates’ double bed, but in a sleeping bag on the spare bed. The boy denied the suggestion.
The boy also denied telling police a “pack of lies” in order to “set Bates up”.
The case continues.
Reproduced with kind permission of the Spalding Guardian.
Friday July 1, 1983 – Reporter: Pauline Hill