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Man found guilty of multiple sexual offences against children

16 Jul 2021

A man who groomed and sexually abused vulnerable youngsters in Luton has today been found guilty of a string of offences committed over decades.
 
Carson Grimes, now 65, of Dumfries Street, Luton, was living in London when he began abusing children, and his behaviour escalated when he moved to Bedfordshire in the 1980s.
 
Grimes, also known as Carson Phillips, was arrested in February 2018, following an allegation by one of his victims, now in his late 30s, but who was just 11 years old when Grimes groomed, raped, and sexually abused him in the early 1990s.
 
Grimes denied all the allegations, and a major investigation was launched by Bedfordshire Police’s Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) team, which revealed a further 11 victims; the youngest was just five years old when her abuse began.
 
Detectives from the CSE team worked tirelessly with multiple victims across the UK, to gather evidence.
 
In July 2020, officers secured 39 charges against Grimes, including rape and indecent assault of both boys and girls, gross indecency and grievous bodily harm, and as they investigated, more offences and victims were discovered.
 
By March 2021 Grimes had been charged with a total of 42 offences against children and young people.
 
Over the course of the trial, which began on 1 June, at Luton Crown Court, the court heard Grimes preyed upon vulnerable boys and girls who found themselves drawn into his orbit as he masqueraded as a friend, offering his home to them as somewhere to hang out, or hide from authorities, where he plied them with drink and drugs before subjecting them to horrific sexual abuse and rape.
 
At Luton Crown Court today, (Friday), Grimes was found guilty on all charges and will be sentenced at a later date.
 
In a statement, one of Grimes’ victims said: “As a child, I thought Carson was my friend, and that he cared about me, but he was giving me alcohol and putting drugs in it so he could do what he did. He then made me believe that what he was doing was OK and natural. 
 
“I spent my life lying to cover up what he did. He took away my innocence, caused me to hurt all those around me; he made me confused about who I was and caused me a lifetime of suffering, pain and hurt.”
 
Detective Sergeant Rachael Foy, from the force’s CSE team, said: “We can never underestimate the devastating impact of Grimes’ predatory behaviour on his young victims who have since carried the terrible harm he inflicted on them well into adulthood.
 
“Grimes snared these young people and then groomed them and exploited their vulnerabilities for his own twisted gratification.
 
“I want to thank the victims for finding the courage to open up and come forward, and for supporting our investigation. I have personally seen the devastation this type of abuse can have on its survivors.”
 
Detective Inspector Vicky Macleod, of the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We know that a jail sentence, however long, will never help these men and women recoup their lost young years, but I hope the outcome of this case, and seeing Grimes convicted will give them some form of closure and help to heal the pain.
 
“It is never too late to report rape or sexual offences, and this case shows that you will be believed, and we will do all we can to see an offender face the consequences of their actions and be brought to justice, no matter when the offences took place.”
 
Superintendent Steve Ashdown said: “I must thank the team for their unwavering dedication to this case, and for the painstaking, meticulous and empathetic work they have undertaken with the victims and witnesses.
 
“I am delighted to see Grimes has now been found guilty of this heinous abuse of trust of so many young and vulnerable children, and will now face a lengthy sentence.
 
“Child sexual abuse can affect any child or young person, regardless of their background, culture, gender, age or ethnicity.
 
“It can often see those under 18 involved in exploitative situations where they usually receive something, or are threatened as part of the grooming process prior to the sexual abuse.
 
“Victims may not realise they are being groomed, may feel they are to blame and may even believe they are a willing participant, when the truth is far more sinister.
 
“We know only too well that a victim may carry this burden for many years before they are ready to open up about what has happened, and experience devastating consequences.
 
“If you are experiencing, or have ever been subjected to, sexual abuse, please report it, don’t carry this by yourself.  We will listen and believe you.
 
“We have a team of specially trained officers, and work closely with a network of partner agencies and can support and guide you through an investigation and beyond.”

Lisa Robinson, Exploitation Lead for the Bedfordshire VERU, said: “It’s never too late to come forward and disclose child sexual abuse.

“Tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation is a priority for all our services across Bedfordshire, and support is available.

“Experiencing abuse is traumatic and it can take a lot of courage to talk about what happened, even years later, and I thank those involved in this case for their bravery in coming forward.

“Getting the right support is such an important part of recovery, and please remember you don’t have to face this alone.

Parents and carers are advised to spot the signs that a child or young person is at risk of child sexual exploitation.
• Being secretive particularly about phone or online messages.
• Drinking or taking drugs.
• Sudden and unusual mood changes.
• Having items they can’t afford, such as jewellery, clothes, trainers.
• Older friends.
• Going missing, or frequently coming home late.
• Changes in friends, tastes and behaviour.

You can find more information and resources on the Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation (BAVEX) website.

To report child sex abuse, call 101. In an emergency, or if someone is in immediate danger, always call 999.

To find out more, please visit our child protection information pages.

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