Midfield Observation and Assessment Centre, Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Victim tells of abuse at hands of paedo ring
A VICTIM of Keith Laverack has described the care home hell which wrecked her life and warned he will return to his evil ways if released.The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “If he gets parole he’ll do it again and my faith in justice will be destroyed.
“If he is released early he will have done a matter of a few weeks in jail for every child he abused, and it makes me feel sick to think of it.
“He never showed any remorse or even any sign he admitted to himself what he had done.
“I can understand that because his crimes were so terrible that if he admitted them in his mind he would probably go mad, but I don’t feel sorry for him for one minute.”
The 42-year-old first met Laverack when she was taken into care after her mother had a nervous breakdown in 1977.
Cambridgeshire Social Services placed her at the Midfield centre, in Oakington, where Laverack was warden, and the horrifying cycle of abuse began.
The mother of two, who lives in a Cambridgeshire village, was just 12 years old.
She said: “Going into care was traumatising in itself – I was very close to my mum, but when she fell ill there wasn’t any other family to look after me.
“Laverack’s first steps were to groom me with gifts – we were allowed to smoke in Midfield, and a packet of cigarettes would appear in my cupboard which Laverack would tell me was a reward for being a good girl.
“He would say, ‘that’s to make you smile’, then when it came to returning the favours he told me I had to make him smile.”
Most of the attacks were carried out in a lockable laundry room at the home, but Laverack also took the girl to his house where he drugged her and invited friends to join in the abuse.
She said: “I didn’t expect it at all, it was so unreal at first, but the second time it was more horrific and more violent as I knew what was going to happen and he didn’t have anything to hide.
“For five months it was a living nightmare, there was a ring of paedophiles, both men and women, led by Laverack who did everything you can imagine to me.
“The worst were the trips to his house where we were forced to drink a sickly blackcurrant drink that was drugged so we were aware what was happening, but out of control.”
After five months, the girl was moved to another Cambridgeshire children’s home, but Laverack followed her, welcomed in by staff who allowed him to continue abusing her.
She was later moved to a home in Coventry, where she was abused by other care workers, and ran away to London aged 15 where she became pregnant.
Her son is now in prison, but her daughter has managed to make a stable life for herself as a restaurant manager.
She said: “I have never recovered. I’m in and out of Fulbourn mental hospital because there are triggers everywhere and because Laverack has left me marked.
“For most people triggers which bring back memories of their past are a pleasurable thing – for me they are a nightmare I can’t escape.”
Child sex fiend applies for early release from prison
SICK paedophile Keith Laverack is set to apply for an early release from jail.
The care home boss, who abused dozens of children over two decades, is believed to be preparing a parole bid.
And a solicitor representing his victims fears his application could be successful, despite the fact he has never admitted his crimes.
Laverack presided over a 20-year reign of depravity in council-run children’s homes in Cambridgeshire, abusing youngsters entrusted to his care.
His systematic abuse cost Cambridgeshire County Council more than £2 million in compensation paid to 85 former residents of the homes where he worked.
But according to solicitor Andrew Grove, who has helped many of the victims fight, the “human devastation” has been immeasurable, with several of Laverack’s victims committing suicide.
Laverack, who was jailed for 18 years in March 1997, is now approaching the date at which he can apply for parole, with the first hearing likely to be held at Dovegate Prison, in Staffordshire, in March.
Mr Grove said he believed Laverack had a good chance of winning parole, and warned even if he was turned down he would be up for early release within three years.
He said: “He is probably preparing now for the first parole hearing in March, when he will go before a local review committee.
“As he is a serious offender, their decision will be sent to the Home Office for approval or disapproval.”
Laverack’s offending stretched from 1965 to 1984, during which time he held senior posts in the council’s social services department and worked in several homes.
He lived in Wilburton, near Ely, and between 1975 and 1987 he was warden at the Midfield Observation and Assessment Centre in Oakington.
He was convicted of 15 counts of sexual offences, and victims who gathered to see him sentenced broke out in spontaneous applause when he was given three consecutive six-year sentences.
Judge Hew Daniels told Laverack he had abused his position of power and trust “in the worst possible way” and said he had used his “high intelligence” to manipulate and deceive.
He said: “None of these young children consented. They were raped, many of them, with violence and force.
“They were humiliated and depreciated and they have had to live with it for years. You took advantage of damaged and abused children to satisfy your perverted lusts, when you knew perfectly well that what these children wanted was love, affection and security.”
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Probation Service refused to comment on the case, but said all long-term prisoners were eligible for parole after serving half their sentence.
He added: “However, they have no automatic right to parole and before this could be considered they must satisfy the parole board that the risk of harm they pose to the community has been significantly reduced.
“There must also be an approved release plan in relation to accommodation, close supervision and relevant licence conditions.”
Laverack was likened during his trial to Captain Hook – the villain of J M Barrie’s Peter Pan story – who preyed on “lost boys”.
His homosexuality was no secret and it was common knowledge among colleagues that he frequented public toilets in Cambridge notorious for their “cottaging” activities.
On one occasion he made an improper approach to another man, also a social services employee.
Immediately afterwards, in 1987, Laverack was moved to a senior managerial post in the Cambridgeshire social services head office.
The official explanation for the move was that he was thought to be nearing a nervous breakdown.
Even after he left Midfield, Laverack is believed to have continued to visit the home – sometimes using the fire escape, according to former pupils – to satisfy his sexual appetite.
Laverack often asked boys to caddy for him when he played golf. After a round at his local club he would take his young victims home and subject them to horrific sexual abuse.
Laverack’s case, described by Judge Daniels as the most serious of its kind he could remember, was at the heart of a police investigation into more than 500 separate allegations of abuse which had already seen 12 paedophiles tried and convicted.
Police and social workers involved in the investigation say the poorly-monitored care system of 20 years ago may have harboured paedophile activities nationwide.
An initial complaint made by a young man who walked into a police station in Cheshire in 1994 spread to 14 other forces across the UK.
In Cheshire and Merseyside more than 5,000 former children’s home residents were traced.
In Cheshire alone 500 complaints of abuse were made against 111 former care home workers.
Laverack had been the “blue-eyed boy” of Cambridgeshire social services, and such was his standing that some social workers felt unable to take suspicions about his behaviour further.
Cambridgeshire social services was also criticised after admitting faults in the handling of the case of Rikki Neave, the six-year-old found strangled in Peterborough in 1995 while on the children at risk register.
It was not until four years later, in September 2001, the Social Services Inspectorate gave Cambridgeshire Social Services the all-clear.