Carers Guilty of Abuse
In a case which has remarkable similarities with other cases in the UK two former carers at a Barnardo’s home in Northern Ireland have been found guilty of abusing and sexually assaulting children. Sarah Jayne Margaret Hewitt, 68, formerly of Drain’s Bay, Larne and Robert George Anderson, 46, from Ballycarry, but now living in England, denied the charges. Most of the abuse took place at the Macedon home in Newtownabbey, on the outskirts of Belfast, more than 25 years ago. Hewitt was found guilty of 53 out of 70 charges, including indecent assault, gross indecency and assault committed against eight children between December 1977 and June 1981. Anderson was found guilty of 17 out of 28 charges, including indecent assault, two charges of rape and gross indecency committed against five children between January 1979 and June 1981. The 10-member jury came to a majority verdict at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday. We hope this victory sets an example to other victims that they do have the courage and support to come forward and safeguard other children from falling at the hands of such evil individuals Victims’ statement It followed two days’ of deliberations. However, the jury unanimously cleared Hewitt of 17 charges and Anderson of 11 charges. He was cleared of nine counts of rape and one of serious sexual assault. It took the foreman of the jury almost 20 minutes to announce all the verdicts. Seven of the eight victims were present in court to hear their abusers being convicted, with some shedding tears of relief and joy while others simply whispered “yes”. The pair will be sentenced later.