MEMBERS of a Coventry family have been jailed for a string of horrific sexual offences against children which spanned more than 30 years – as a judge branded it the most shocking case he has presided over.
Anthony Potts, of Milverton Road, Wood End, has been jailed for life after being found guilty of 13 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, nine counts of inciting a child to perform a sexual act and cruelty in an eight week trial which ended in May.
The judge at Birmingham Crown Court told the 49-year-old on Monday (July 16) that his crimes were ‘horrendous’ and of all the cases he has presided over in his 50 years of service he could not think of ‘a worse one’.
He told Potts he must serve at least 16 years before he would even be considered for parole.
Five other defendants – many members of his own family – were complicit in Potts’ offending and were jailed alongside him.
Potts first came to the attention of police in 1989 when a young woman reported being abused by him as a child over a six-year period, but the case was never brought to trial.
Two years ago, the case was eventually referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
In May 2015, three children – all under the age of 14 – disclosed they had been abused by 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 within the Family Court 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.
Joshua Potts, aged 26 from Burnaby Road, was convicted of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault against children.
He has been jailed for 16 years with no possibility of parole for ten and a half years.
Keith and Julie Potts, aged 67 and 60 respectively, from Burnaby Road, were both charged with two counts of cruelty to a child.
They have been jailed for eight and seven years respectively.
Nathan Potts, aged 26 from Burnaby Road, was also found guilty in May of two counts of rape of a child, four counts of sexual assault, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and sex with an adult relative – he will be sentenced in August.
Two further defendants pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and were sentenced this week. Joanne Hoye, aged 42 of no fixed address – neglect – jailed for four years. Elaine Potts, aged 50 of Milverton Road – neglect – jailed for four years.
Two 17-year-old boys also on trial were found not guilty.
A 52-year-old woman on trial for aiding and abetting sexual offences resulted in a hung jury.
Investigating detective sergeant Rachel Gregory, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: “This is one of the worst cases of systematic and horrifying child sexual abuse that I have ever seen.
“The investigation was complex and a lot of time and care was spent with the survivors in helping them to find the courage to talk about what happened to them and to ensure we could present the best possible evidence to the court.”
Detective chief Inspector Jo Floyd, the senior investigating officer, added: “All the children have been safeguarded and are receiving on-going support to help them come to terms with their abuse.
“I would urge anyone who has suffered any type of sexual abuse either currently or historically to get in touch with us.”
A Serious Case Review to scrutinise the safeguarding procedures for the children involved and what lessons can be learned is underway by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
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