‘Pedo family’ raped, tortured kids for decades
MEMBERS of a sick family raped and tortured children during a 30-year campaign of abuse branded the "worst ever case of its kind" by a judge.
Antony Potts and two of his half-brothers carried out a string of sickening sex attacks on children, while other members of the family admitted or were convicted of neglect or child cruelty.
Following an eight-week trial, Antony, 49, was described as a "deeply depraved man" as he was sentenced to life in jail at Birmingham Crown Court.
He was convicted of 13 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and nine counts of inciting a child to perform a sexual act and cruelty.
Antony's half-brother Joshua Potts, 25, was jailed for 16 years after admitting to multiple counts of rape and sexual assault against children.
Their other brother Nathan Potts, 26, was convicted on two counts of rape of a child, four counts of sexual assault, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and sex with an adult relative. He will be sentenced next month.
Their dad, Keith Potts, 67, was jailed for eight years as well as his wife Julie, 60, both for child cruelty.
Antony's wife Elaine, 50, and family friend Joanne Hoye, 42, were also jailed for four years after pleading guilty to neglect.
Jailing Antony, Judge Carr said: "You are a deeply depraved man who has taken many, many opportunities to abuse children and corrupt them.
"These are horrendous offences.
"In 50 years practice and presiding over cases like this, I cannot think of a worse one."
The court heard how the sickening abuse first came to light in 1989 when a girl came forward and told police what Antony had done to her.
But the case was never brought to trial.
Fast forward to May 2015, three more children - all aged under 14 - came forward saying they had been abused by Antony and other members of the family.
However it was decided there was not enough evidence to press charges.
The case was then reopened in January 2016 when a fifth victim came forward.
The full extent of the abuse began to unravel and a further three victims were identified - meaning the family could finally be brought to trial.
Jurors were read emotional victim impact statements giving harrowing details of how the victims were "groomed and brainwashed" by their abusers.
One said the abuse had a "major impact" on her life and she felt she was "let down as a child" by the police, CPS and social services.
She also said she has suffered from "constant and daily panic attacks", has post-traumatic stress disorder and has "reduced self-worth".
"I want Antony to go to prison all his life so he can't hurt anyone else," a victim said.
Investigating officer Detective Sargeant Rachel Gregory, from the force's public protection unit, said: "This is one of the worst cases of systematic and horrifying child sexual abuse that I have ever seen.
"The investigation was complex and a lot of time and care was spent with the survivors in helping them to find the courage to talk about what happened to them and to ensure we could present the best possible evidence to the court, but also to make sure that their welfare was the primary consideration.
"I hope that the sentences handed to the defendants goes some way to help them rebuild their lives."
Detective Chief Inspector Jo Floyd, the senior investigating officer, said: "All the children have been safeguarded and are receiving ongoing support to help them come to terms with their abuse.
"I would urge anyone who has suffered any type of sexual abuse either currently or historically to get in touch with us. It is never too late for us to investigate this type of crime and we are determined to bring perpetrators to justice.
"Our officers are highly trained specialists in this field who work with a number of agencies and can offer support through the criminal process."
The Local Safeguarding Children Board has launched a serious case review to scrutinise the safeguarding procedures for the children involved.
This story originally appeared in The Sun and has been republished with permission.