Stephen Webb – of Weston Green, Dagenham

Dagenham man guilty of raping and abusing a vulnerable teenage boy he men through a gay chat room. 

A man who abused his position of trust to rape and sexually abuse a vulnerable teenager has been convicted for his heinous crimes.

Stephen Webb, 57, of Weston Green, Dagenham, violated his victim by taking advantage of a difficult personal situation.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had come out to his family as being gay when he was just 14 years old.

He began to use gay chat rooms online and he became friends with a 16-year-old boy.

The older of the pair offered to introduce the younger to Webb, who he had met through the website.

The victim agreed to meet predatory Webb as he was interested in making other gay friends.

After picking up the two boys from Elm Park Underground Station, Webb drove them back to his house in Dagenham, where the 14-year-old confided in him about his coming out and his home life.

Promising to look after him, Webb allowed the boy to stay at his house overnight on several occasions in 1999 and 2000.

Although at first the victim slept on Webb’s sofa and there was no sexual contact, this changed when the pervert insisted the boy sat on his lap while he kissed and sexually assaulted him against the teen’s wishes.

Webb would also make his victim to watch pornography with him, including some home-made indecent images involving children that were filmed in his house.

One evening, Webb told the victim to sleep in his bedroom upstairs and the teen complied as he didn’t want to cause any upset.

Seeing Webb as his “knight in shining armour”, the victim continued to sleep in Webb’s bed where he would be sexually assaulted.

The gross living situation came to an end when Webb pinned the victim down and brutally raped him.

That evening the teenager confided in his friend, who was staying in the spare room, and the pair left the house.

When asked if he wanted to call the police to report what happened, the victim said he did not want to talk about it.

He did not see Webb again until he was 20 years old when he drove to Webb’s house to face his fears and show his rapist he could not hurt him anymore.

But although Webb and his victim spoke for a short time, the abuse was not discussed and the victim left the house – the last time he ever saw his attacker.

He reported the crimes to police in August 2014 and Webb was arrested the following September.

The victim told officers he did not want to report Webb at the time because he did not want to ruin their relationship, saying he saw Webb as an older male who offered him stability during a chaotic period in his life. 

Following a thorough investigation by the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command (SOECAC), Webb was charged on December 7, 2016.

A trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Tuesday (June 13) saw Webb found guilty of one count of rape of a child under 16 and four counts of indecent sexual assault.

He had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of making an indecent video of a child.

Detective Constable Charlotte Carter, the investigating officer from SOECAC said: “The victim saw Webb as a surrogate father figure and someone he could confide in about being gay.

“Webb abused this position of trust to exploit a vulnerable teenager for his own satisfaction. Webb has failed to show any remorse for his despicable actions throughout.

“I would like to pay tribute to the victim who had the courage to report this distressing crime to police, and attend court to give evidence against Webb. I hope that today’s conviction gives the victim a measure of comfort and closure.”

Detective Inspector Keith Ward said: “This conviction is another example of how the passage of time should not be perceived as a barrier to tackling offenders.

“We remain committed to giving victims the chance to come forward and tell us what they have endured so that we can help find them justice.”

Webb, who was acquitted of a further count of rape of a child under 16, will be sentenced at the same court on a date to be set.


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