Wednesday 24 April 2019
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Children's care home worker Bruce McLean abused vulnerable boys

A children's care home worker has been found guilty of a string of historical child sex offences against young boys.

Bruce McLean, 62, was convicted of 19 charges of indecent assault against four boys while working at children's homes in Derbyshire and Cheshire.

He would win their trust by giving gifts and treats such as trips to Manchester United's Cliff training ground, Chester Crown Court heard.

Judge Patrick Thomson told McLean to expect a custodial sentence.

McLean had denied 33 offences against boys, aged seven to 14, between 1974 and 1991 in homes in Taxal Edge, Whaley Bridge and Kilrie in Knutsford.

The jury failed to reach a verdict on the remaining 14 counts made by other alleged victims and the Crown Prosecution Service is considering whether a retrial will go ahead.

'Buy silence'

McLean was in a position of trust and responsibility but he used his position to exploit them.

As a house father, he took the place of a parent to vulnerable children, often from challenging and troubled family backgrounds.

Complainants said he would take the boys to the Cliff training ground and to visit a factory where he got sportswear to give to some of the pupils.

The prosecution said these treats and gifts "were cynically designed to buy a form of silence from those he abused."

One of the survivors described being abused in McLean's accommodation after being taken to watch a training session.

Another complainant described being taken in his car to the grounds of a large house in Nantwich where he was abused and warned if he said anything he could end up "like another boy buried in the grounds".

The court was told McLean, of Moore, Cheshire, was convicted of 10 counts of indecent assault in 1997 following an investigation into Kilrie, but has maintained his innocence and denied ever being attracted to children.