27/10/2015

70-Year-Old Jailed For Abusing Boys Over Forty Years

A 70-year-old man has been found guilty of a number of sexual offences against young boys over a period of 40 years.

Neil McKenna of Barnett's Close, Tunbridge Wells was arrested in November 2013 after police carried out a warrant to search his home address.

It followed an allegation made to Kent Police in 2012 by a man in his 30s that he had been raped by McKenna when he was 13.

An investigation by Kent Police detectives discovered there were other victims and previous investigations, and it led to McKenna being charged with 24 sexual offences committed between 1976 and 2003 when the boys were aged eight to 15.

The offences were committed in Headcorn, Cranbrook and Tunbridge Wells and McKenna had gained access to children via football clubs he was managing and gaining the trust of vulnerable families. Some of the offences took place in London where he worked as a sports instructor.

McKenna, who denied all of the allegations, was convicted of 17 of the 24 charges by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court on 15 October, who returned a unanimous verdict.

They are four offences of rape, 12 of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.

He is due to be sentenced on 27 November.

Investigating officer Detective Constable David Turner said: "This conviction shows that reports made by victims of historic abuse will always be taken seriously. Any complaint of this type will be investigated thoroughly by specialist officers, with victims treated with care and understanding.

"We ensure that support is offered to all victims at the earliest opportunity, as their welfare is our primary concern.

"Neil McKenna abused his position in order to carry out the abuse, and we hope his imminent prison sentence will encourage other victims of this type of historic abuse to come forward."

(MH/LM)

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