May 2018

Four convicted after horrific Coventry child sexual abuse case 

Four members of a family from Coventry have been convicted of child abuse over a period of more than 30 years in what a police officer investigating the case described as “one of the worst cases of systematic and horrifying child sexual abuse” she had ever seen.

The offences ranged from neglect to sexual assault and rape of children aged between two and 15.

The convictions came at the end of an eight-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court and took place after two other family members and a close friend pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Antony Potts, 49, of Milverton Road, Wood End, was found guilty of 13 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and nine counts of inciting a child to perform a sexual act and cruelty – all against children.

Nathan Potts, 26, of Burnaby Road, was convicted of two counts of rape of a child, four counts of sexual assault, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and sex with another adult.

Keith Potts, 67, and Julie Potts, 60, both of Burnaby Road, were both found guilty of two counts of cruelty to a child.

Three further defendants pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Joanne Hoye, 42, of no fixed address, admitted neglect, as did Elaine Potts, 50, of Milverton Road.

Joshua Potts, 26, of Burnaby Road, admitted multiple counts of rape and sexual assault against children.

A date is yet to be set for sentencing and Joshua, Nathan and Anthony Potts have been remanded in custody, with the other four given bail.

The first person reported her six-year ordeal at the hands of Antony Potts to police in 1989, but the case was never brought to trial.

That original investigation was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission two years ago, who deemed the failure of the case resulting in charges to be ‘poor policing’.

In May 2015 three more individuals, all under the age of 14, disclosed that they had been abused by Antony Potts and others to a third party, who reported the allegations to police, but in July of that year it was deemed there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the perpetrators.

Following exploration of facts and the testimony of a fifth person, the case was re-opened in January 2016 and the full extent of the abuse began to unfold, resulting in three further cases being identified.

After months of careful investigation and support from partner organisations including Coventry Children’s Services, the Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) and the independent intermediaries appointed to support the child survivors, the defendants were brought to trial.

A 52-year-old woman on trial for aiding and abetting sexual offences resulted in a hung jury.

This will be referred back to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on whether she will be re-tried.