Steven Joyce – Erme Drive, Ivybridge

Ivybridge paedophile punched in the face outside court

Ivybridge paedophile jailed for boarding school sex abuse

A former house parent at a boarding school was punched to the ground as he turned up at court where he was jailed for abusing vulnerable boys on his care after a judge told him he had abused his position of trust.

Steven Joyce was in charge of the welfare of boys who were sent to a special school in North Devon and had no-one else to turn to if they were lonely or homesick.

But before he entered Exeter Crown Court for an 11.30 am hearing today he was punched in the face and knocked to the ground.

The attacker was restrained by a court security guard and held in a “bear hug”. It is not known what happened to the assailant.

Joyce used his position as house parent to touch the boys or make them touch him in his rooms, at his home nearby, in the bathroom, while doing dormitory rounds, while taking them out in the school bus.

He set up a system of sexual abuse in which he moved from one victim to another over almost a decade in the 1980s, leaving the boys with a lifetime of psychological damage.

Child welfare campaigners welcomed his seven year, two month sentence after he was jailed at Exeter Crown Court. (below)

An NSPCC spokesman said: “As a boarding school house parent, Joyce held a position of significant trust within his school – trust that he abused for his own sexual gratification.

“His victims were vulnerable boys who looked to him for comfort and support, but instead were sexually assaulted on a number of occasions.

“With the attacks taking place decades ago Joyce may have thought he had got away with it, but thanks to the bravery his victims have shown in coming forward justice has finally been served.”

Joyce, (below) now aged 66, of Erme Drive, Ivybridge, admitted two offences of attempted buggery and 13 of indecency against a total of four boys aged ten to 15.

He was jailed for seven years, two months by Recorder Mr Martin Meeke, QC, who told him:”This was a boarding school for boys with a range of difficulties. You were in a position of trust which you abused and your victims were vulnerable.

“I cannot find any mitigating features. The offending continued over years and affected many victims.”

Mr Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said Joyce pretended to be a father figure to gain the trust of boys and then groomed them for sex, giving them chocolates, cash and other gifts before or after abusing them. He assaulted some boys while pretending to comfort them.

Victim impact statements described how boys had suffered years of psychological trauma and felt Joyce had stolen their childhoods.

At the time it was a privately run school for what were described as maladjusted children, but it is now a special school run by Devon County Council.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Joyce should be given credit for accepting what he had done so many years ago and saving the victims the ordeal of re-living their ordeals in court.

He said Joyce will have no contact with children after his release and will pose no danger to the public.

After the case, Detective Constable Samantha Napier, from the public protection unit in Barnstaple, said: “I hope this result provides reassurance to the other victims of sexual offences and shows them that it is never too later to report abuse.

“Wherever possible perpetrators will be brought to justice and held to account for their actions. I would like to thank current and former staff for their help in this inquiry.

“I also wish to praise the courage and dignity of the victims and their families in this case and hope the result can bring them some comfort and they can feel that justice has been served,” she said.

Any adult with concerns about the welfare of a child or who would like to report child abuse now or in the past, can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.


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