A regional newspaper was able to name a man who abused children in his care after a judge agreed to relax the rules regarding anonymity for victims of sexual offences.
Five of the offender’s victims agreed to sign waivers so that the Southern Daily Echo could name and use a photograph of Rex Case, a 68-year-old foster carer who was this week found guilty on 18 counts of abuse, including indecent assaults and rape.
Judge Peter Henry sitting at Southampton Crown Court agreed to relax the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992 after receiving signed statements from the five victims, all now over the age of 18, that Case could be named and details of his abuse to his foster children be reported.
The signed agreements were obtained by assistant news editor and chief crime reporter at the paper Jenny Makin who approached each of the victims and their families individually. The paper gave assurances that names and other details of the victims would not be reported.
After receiving a deputation from the paper, the judge ruled that the case was so serious that it was in the public interest that the identity of the accused and what he had done to the children in his care should be revealed in full.
Editor Ian Murray said: “This has been a shocking case, made all the worse by the fact the authorities ignored reports of serious sexual assaults and missed earlier opportunities to prosecute Case.
“I am immensely proud of the team here at the paper for the way they have approached this case, and in particular Jenny Makin who worked closely with the families to gain their trust and ultimately their agreement for Case to be named and shamed and the full extent of the authorities’ errors to be made public.”
The Echo reported that Case had started fostering children 30 years ago after replying to an advertisement from Hampshire Social Services. During the time he provided a home for a total of 34 girls through fostering and foreign exchange visits.
The paper also exposed the fact police and social services in Southampton and Hampshire had ignored warnings over Case and paid no heed to one five-year-old girl who had told them she had been raped while in his care.
The paper’s enquiries into the background of the case led to an admission from Hampshire Police that they missed ‘several’ opportunities to prosecute Case before this month’s trial.
Hampshire Police told the Echo that investigations by the police and social services had not been as robust or thorough as they should have been.