January 2019

Sex offender’s ‘lenient’ sentence increased after abuse of boy at notorious care home

A man who sexually abused a teenage boy at a notorious care home has had his “unduly lenient” sentence increased.

Graham Joseph Stridgeon was jailed in October for three and a half years after admitting three counts of historic sexual assaults at the Bryn Alyn Hall children’s home near Wrexham.

The offences, which date back more than 40 years, were carried out by Stridgeon while he himself was a resident at the care home.

Stridgeon, 64, who now uses the name Tony Gordon, was arrested and charged as part of Operation Pallial, a National Crime Agency investigation into allegations of past abuse in the North Wales care system.

Following his sentencing, the Solicitor General Robert Buckland referred it to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient.

The Court of Appeal today increased his sentence to five years and 10 months in prison with an extended licence period of three years.

Speaking after the hearing, the Solicitor General said: “I would like to thank the victim for bringing Stridgeon’s offences to light, and I hope that they now feel that their courage has been rewarded and that justice has been done.

“I would also like to thank the National Crime Agency for their hard work on Operation Pallial.”

At Stridgeon’s original sentencing hearing at Mold Crown Court, Judge Rhys Rowlands said Stridgeon had “got away with committing these offences for many years”.

He added that, despite Stridgeon having learning difficulties, he would have known the harm he was causing to his victim.

After being sentenced, Stridgeon, of Park Avenue, Fleetwood, Lancashire, was also told he would be placed on the sexual offenders register for life.

October 2018

Former Wrexham children’s home resident jailed for abuse in the 1970s

A 64-year-old man has been given a three-and-a-half year prison sentence for sexual offences against a child committed more than 40 years ago.

Graham Stridgeon, now known as Tony Gordon, from Fleetwood, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and one count of buggery on 10 September 2018 at Mold Crown Court.

This followed an investigation by the National Crime Agency into historic child abuse at children’s homes in North Wales.

Stridgeon and his victim were residents at the Bryn Alyn children’s home in Wrexham at the time of the offences.

The abuse took place at the home between June 1973 and December 1974.

Stridgeon was several years older than his victim.

On Tuesday 16 October he was sentenced to three years and six months in jail.

NCA investigating officer Andy Sandham said: “Stridgeon picked on boys who were younger and more vulnerable, pretending he was going to help them.

“The victim has been incredibly brave coming forward all these years later and retelling the abuse he was subjected to.

“Stridgeon probably thought he’d got away with his crimes, but he, and others who committed crimes against children all those years ago, have been brought to justice and I hope their victims can take some comfort in that.”

Operation Pallial, the independent NCA investigation into allegations of past abuse in the care system in North Wales, began in November 2012 at the request of Mark Polin, who was the Chief Constable of North Wales Police.

Stridgeon is the 12th person to be convicted under operation Pallial. There are 4 further trials under Operation Pallial some scheduled for next year.