Fenland man found guilty of systematically abusing children over a 15-year period

A FENLAND man has been found guilty of systematically abusing children in King’s Lynn over a 15-year period – in what could be the first case in this area to be triggered by Facebook conversations.

Gary Auker, of Kent Close, Sutton Bridge, was yesterday found guilty by a jury at Norwich Crown Court of 17 counts of indecent assault and one charge of attempted rape.

Auker, 51, who had denied the charges, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on July 22.

The court earlier heard that his victims, aged between four and 14, had found the courage to speak out after making contact again on the social networking site Facebook.

Auker carried out the assaults on both boys and girls between 1975 and 1990 from the age of 16, until he was around 30.

Afterwards, Detective Constable Frances Cable, of Norfolk Constabulary’s Vulnerable Persons Unit, said: “This investigation began in June 2010 and has involved extensive inquiries due to the time which had elapsed.

“For years Auker committed these terrible crimes against very vulnerable young children who until recently had been too scared to come forward.”

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And in an echo of the recent Milly Dowler case, in which the girl’s parents were forced to undergo questioning in court, Detective Inspector Richard Ellis said victims in this case had also had to relive the ordeal in court, which he said had been an “immensely stressful experience”.

Det Insp Ellis said: “The misery he has caused has not only affected the victims but their families too.

“I would like to commend the witnesses and victims in this case for the bravery they have shown in helping officers from the Vulnerable Persons Unit and the Crown Prosecution Service achieve justice for them all.

“This has taken an enormous amount of courage on their part, and we hope this verdict today will give them a sense of closure, and that they can now move on positively with their lives.”

The court had earlier heard that the police had been told after two of the victims had made contact again on Facebook last year.

One of the victims indicated in a message left on Facebook that he had been sexually abused by Auker, and the other victim said that she too had suffered sexual abuse at Auker’s hands. This led to contacts with other victims and the abuse was reported to police.

The attempted rape took place between 1981 and 1983 on a girl who was seven or eight at the time.

This prosecution – where victims of abuse contacted each other on Facebook – is believed to be among the first of its kind in the region.

Anyone who is, or has been, a victim of abuse can call Norfolk Constabulary on 0845 456 4567 or Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services Department on 0344 800 8014.

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