Ex-Great Ormond Street Hospital porter jailed for life for child sex abuse

24 May 2021, 11:58 | Updated: 24 May 2021, 12:26

Paul Farrell will serve at least 18 years in jail
Paul Farrell will serve at least 18 years in jail. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

A former Great Ormond Street Hospital porter has been handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years after admitting a string of sexual offences against young boys.

Paul Farrell, 55, was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court today.

He admitted 69 offences against eight complainants who were as young as five at the time, totalling at least 500 instances of abuse over a period of 35 years.

Farrell did not target children at the hospital, where he worked between 1994 and 2020, but befriended the parents of his victims and acted as a babysitter in order to abuse their children at addresses in London.

Paul Douglass, prosecuting, told the court last week one of the victims was an "extremely vulnerable boy" who was sexually abused by Farrell between the age of eight and 15.

The defendant had gained his trust by buying him presents and taking him to football matches amid a difficult upbringing for the victim, according to Mr Douglass.

Farrell made himself "indispensable" to the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, by giving him money - described as "bribes for being abused" by the victim.

Reading out an impact statement from the witness box on Thursday, the victim directed his remarks to the defendant, telling him: "I have carried this every day for the last 10 years.

"I want you to know that you are not going to break me. I am going to get over this and be the best man I can be for the community."

Another of Farrell's victims said he experienced hundreds of instances of abuse between the ages of five and 14, taking place two to three times a week in different locations.

Mr Douglass told the court the victim had recalled being taken into a linen room at GOSH on "numerous occasions", with Farrell then locking the door before sexually abusing him.

The court heard that during the same period, the victim's brother was also taken to the linen room on one or two occasions, where he was also abused.

A spokeswoman for GOSH said they were "deeply sorry that he (Farrell) was able to abuse his position and use our hospital to commit some of his offences" in an earlier statement.

Farrell's other victims include a boy abused when aged between seven and nine and his younger brother, with neither sibling aware what was happening to the other at the time.

In a statement read to the court by Mr Douglass, the younger brother said: "Innocent children like me and my brother will be profoundly scarred by your actions for the rest of our lives."

In his opening statement, Mr Douglass told the court the defendant had "ruthlessly exploited the vulnerabilities of his victims" and was able to win the trust of their parents.

Mr Douglass said: "The total number of offences to which the defendant has pleaded numbers not less than 560 over a period of 35 years - the true figure is likely to be in the thousands."

He said that Farrell was arrested for the first time in January last year after one of the victims saw a picture of the defendant on Facebook, which showed him to be around children.

Farrell had previously pleaded guilty to a series of charges relating to eight complainants, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, now aged between nine and 43.

The offences, carried out between 1985 and 2020, include attempted rape, sexual assault of a child under 13 and making indecent photographs of children.

A spokeswoman for GOSH earlier said: "His actions are in direct contrast to everything we stand for as a children's hospital.

"We would like to reiterate what has been said in court; that Paul Farrell did not target children at GOSH.

"We urge anyone who has concerns about this case to call the helpline that we have set up with the NSPCC on 0800 101 996."

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