Man jailed for sex offences in children’s home

The man was caught by Operation Marmion


A former staff member at a Hampshire children’s home charged with non-recent child sex offences has today (Friday 6 October) been jailed for 15 years, following an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary’s Operation Marmion.

Willy John Gillham, 64, of Rue des Fours Ecoine, France, has today been found guilty on four counts of serious sexual offences agaist a boy under the age of 16, following a trial by jury at Southampton Crown court.

The court heard evidence about offences that included rape and indecent assault that had taken place at the former Palmerston House children’s home on Botley Road, Romsey, during the 1980s.

The home had already closed down prior to the investigation conducted by Hampshire Constabulary’s Operation Marmion team.

Gillham was given an 18 month term of imprisonment for indecent assault, and a 15 year prison sentence for three counts of rape, to run concurrently. He will serve a minimum of 7 years before being considered for parole.

Following the hearing, Operation Marmion’s Detective Inspector Toby Elcock said: “To come forward and speak to police more than 30 years after being subjected to such a horrific level of offending takes remarkable bravery and courage.

“I have great admiration for the victim who helped bring this man to justice, and I hope this encourages other members of the community who have suffered in silence to make that step in speaking to our detectives.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Gillham’s victim was in a setting which should have been entirely safe. Instead they were betrayed in the worst possible way by someone who should have been protecting them from harm.

“His victim may have waited a long time for justice but it is in part thanks to their bravery that Gillham was brought before the courts, solid proof that it is never too late to speak out about past abuse.

“Sexual abuse ruins childhoods and the devastating effects can last into adulthood without the right support. We hope the victim in this case has received the available help so they can move forward with their lives.”

Previous victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse, or anyone with information, can contact Operation Marmion detectives at Hampshire Constabulary’s Southern Training Headquarters at Netley by phoning 101. Mini-com users can phone 18001 101.

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Originally posted 2017-10-06 15:38:27.