Breaking News: Former mayor found guilty of abusing schoolboys

A former mayor of Exmouth is facing years in jail after being found guilty of the historic sexual abuse of two schoolboys.

Ted Davenport www.devonlive.com

John Humphreys raped one of the boys after taking him into an abandoned military blockhouse on Woodbury Common 30 years ago and went on to abuse the other a decade later.

He is not only a former Mayor and long-serving Conservative councillor but also served as governor of a primary school for many years.

He is openly gay and became one of the first people in Britain to take part in a same sex wedding when he married his partner in April 2014 on the first day the new law came into effect.

He denied having any sexual contact with either boy but was found guilty of all charges by majority verdicts at the end of an eight day trial at Exeter Crown Court.

He said he was shocked and flabbergasted at the allegations and accused his first victim of being ‘wicked and vindictive’ and making up his allegations so he could claim compensation.

Humphreys ran his own gardening business in Exmouth and was considered to be a pillar of the community until the first allegations came to light in 2015.

Former Exmouth mayor John Humphreys who is accused of sexually abusing to boys in thr 1990s and 2000s

Former Exmouth mayor John Humphreys who is accused of sexually abusing to boys in the 1990s and 2000s (Image: MARTIN WHITHAM)

He was prosecuted after police unearthed records of a previous complaint from the second victim, which was not pursued when it was first made in the 2000s.

Humphreys, aged 59, of Hartley Road, Exmouth, denied but was found guilty of three counts of a serious sexual assault (buggery) and two of indecent assault on the younger boy and five counts of indecent assault against older one.

The jury were out for more than eight hours before they delivered their majority verdicts.

Judge Timothy Rose adjourned sentence to Friday to allow the victims time to update impact statements.

Miss Fiona Elder, defending, said Humphreys knows he will receive a long jail sentence.

(Image: DevonLive)

Mr Piers Norsworthy, prosecuting, said he would submit a schedule setting out the sentencing guidelines for modern offences which are the equivalent to those he was convicted of.

The first victim was aged about 13 when he was picked up by Humphreys in public toilets in Manor Gardens in Exmouth, which was a well-known gay meeting spot or cottage at the time in 1990 or 1991.

He took the boy to a friend’s flat and had sex with him before dropping him off. They met again in the same way twice and on the first occasion he took him back to his former home in Salterton Road where they had sex again.

The victim said he was taken to Woodbury Common on the third meeting where he was subjected to a brutal sexual assault he described as rape.

When police asked him why he had decided to make a complaint, he replied ‘because I’ve had 25 years of sleepless nights’.

The second victim met Humphreys when he was aged 14 or 15 in 2001 and off school.

He said he was assaulted for the first time after being taken back to his home during a lunch break and was so confused that he froze.

Humphreys later offered him holiday jobs and went on to abuse him on other occasions, telling him ‘this doesn’t mean you are gay’.

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