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Man jailed for historic sex abuse in Hampshire care home

Willy John Gillham's been sent to prison after being found guilty of historic sex offences at a Hampshire care home.

The 64 year-old who's from Rue des Fours Ecoine, Deux-Sèvres in France, has been given 15 years over four counts of sexual offences against a boy under the age of 16.

Southampton Crown Court heard that Gillham had committed offences including rape and indecent assault at the former Palmerston House children’s home on Botley Road, Romsey, during the 1980s.

The home had already closed down prior to the Hampshire Constabulary investigation.

Gillham was given an 18 month term of imprisonment for indecent assault, and a 15 year prison sentence for three counts of rape, to run concurrently.

He will serve a minimum of 7 years before being considered for parole.

He was arrested after an investigation by Hampshire Police called Operation Marmion.

Following the hearing, Operation Marmion’s Detective Inspector Toby Elcock said: "To come forward and speak to police more than 30 years after being subjected to such a horrific level of offending takes remarkable bravery and courage.

“I have great admiration for the victim who helped bring this man to justice, and I hope this encourages other members of the community who have suffered in silence to make that step in speaking to our detectives.”

A spokesperson from the NSPCC said: “Gillham’s victim was in a setting which should have been entirely safe. Instead they were betrayed in the worst possible way by someone who should have been protecting them from harm.

“His victim may have waited a long time for justice but it is in part thanks to their bravery that Gillham was brought before the courts, solid proof that it is never too late to speak out about past abuse.

“Sexual abuse ruins childhoods and the devastating effects can last into adulthood without the right support. We hope the victim in this case has received the available help so they can move forward with their life.”

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