CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Prolific child sex abuser carried on offending while on bail

Paul Farrell is facing a possible life sentence

22 March, 2021 — By Bronwen Weatherby

Paul Farrell

A FORMER hospital porter who has admitted to a catalogue of child sex offences committed further abuse while on bail, it has been revealed.

Paul Farrell, 55, who is now facing a potential life sentence for what has been described as a “campaign of abuse” over 35 years, carried on offending during the coronavirus lockdown and after a police investigation had begun into historic allegations.

Two young boys were abused last year before Farrell, from Kentish Town, was finally held on remand.

In total, he has pleaded guilty to more than 70 sex charges related to the abuse of eight children and possessing child abuse images.

As some of the charges encompassed “multiple incidents”, detectives believe he committed at least 500 instances of abuse.

More victims may still be unknown, they fear, and a helpline has been set up for anybody affected by Farrell’s crimes – one of longest charge sheets for offences of this nature in Camden’s recent history.

The charges in court included multiple counts of indecency with a child, indecent assault, sexual assault of a child, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual activity with a child, attempted rape and possessing indecent images.

The details of the case have led to questions as to how Farrell’s crimes went undetected for such a long period and why he was able to still commit further abuse last year before he was finally held in custody.

The New Journal asked the Met Police for an interview with anybody working on the investigation in relation to this aspect of the case, but instead we received an emailed statement.

“At the time of his initial arrest, the allegations related to historical matters only,” the statement said.

“His bail included conditions related to the initial allegation of non-recent child abuse made against him. At that early stage, the totality of his offending was not known and there was insufficient evidence to charge him.”

It added: “Crucially, while further recent offending would come to light later, there was no evidence available to officers at the time to suggest that abuse was ongoing or that Farrell posed an imminent risk.”

The Met said arrests and charges were brought at the “earliest opportunities” and when they were “satisfied the case against him had met the evidential test set out by the Crown Prosecution Service”.

The statement added: “Further charges were brought as the investigation progressed and always at the earliest opportunity.”

Farrell had worked as a porter at Great Ormond Street Hospital from 1992 until his arrest last year.

Police and the hospital have said the offending did not relate to patients at the hospital in Bloomsbury.

He is known to have taken at least two of his victims to areas of the hospital he had access to, however, including the linen rooms, where abuse did take place.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Great Ormond Street Hospital said: “We are deeply sorry that he was able to abuse his position and use our hospital to commit some of his offences.”

Farrell’s victims were all boys aged between five and 16 at the time of the offences. They are now aged between eight and 43.

Over the years, he had befriended the parents and families of his victims, gaining their trust and becoming a lodger or babysitter before abusing the children in various houses around London.

Police say they were first made aware of Farrell in November 2019, when they received a report of historical child sexual abuse involving two boys dating back to the mid-1980s from a third party.

One of the victims was out of the country at the time but later gave a statement last January confirming Farrell had sexually abused him while babysitting.

Farrell was then arrested at his work by officers from the Central North safeguarding team on January 16 last year on suspicion of historic child abuse. A search of Farrell’s home found indecent DVDs and photographs of children kept inside a safe in his bedroom.

He was then released on bail by police as detectives collected victim and witness accounts and combed through the data on his phone and computers, later finding extreme pornography and hundreds of indecent images on these devices, some of which are considered category A – depicting the most serious child abuse. He was first charged with a crime in May 2020 in relation to the indecent images but was released on court bail.

Meanwhile, text messages found on his phone launched enquiries into a number of other potential victims which led to a further six being identified.

They would later disclose to police that Farrell had sexually abused them during different periods in the 1980s, 1990s and 2010s.

Farrell was remanded in custody in July last year and later admitted to a series of charges.

He has also been found guilty of five counts of possessing indecent images of children and extreme pornographic material. Sentencing will take place in May.

Detective Superintendent Dave Courcha said: “Most of the victims lived with the trauma of what they were subjected to for decades, with two victims waiting more than 30 years before feeling ready to come forward to police.”

Detective Sergeant Jules Manock, from the force’s safeguarding team who led the investigation, said the survivors had shown “incredible bravery” in coming forward.

Anyone who has either been a victim of Paul Farrell’s offending, or who has concerns about Farrell’s offending should call a helpline set up by the NSPCC for this case – 0800 101 996, or email help@nspcc.org.uk

Any allegations of crime will be passed to police and reviewed.

Farrell didn’t target GOSH patients

ALTHOUGH Paul Farrell worked as a porter for Great Ormond Street for nearly two decades, detectives are not investigating crimes against patients at the children’s hospital.

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with all the victims of this horrendous abuse,” the hospital said in a statement.

“Paul Farrell has admitted to a catalogue of truly awful crimes and we are deeply sorry that he was able to abuse his position and use our hospital to commit some of his offences.

His actions are in direct contrast to everything we stand for as a children’s hospital.”

It added: “We regularly review our safeguarding processes to ensure they are in line with national guidance and strive for best practice.

“We will continue to work with the police to understand more about his crimes and consider whether there is anything more we can do to prevent cases like this.

“We know that the crimes he committed and his association with the hospital may cause alarm and distress among our patients, their families and our wider hospital community. We would like to reiterate what has been said in court; that Paul Farrell did not target children at GOSH.”

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