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Trevor Worthington, his son Philip, and William Tomkinson — all members (soldiers) of the Salvation Army — have been found guilty of sexually abusing young girls.
“Three men who were members of the Salvation Army – including a father and son – have been found guilty of sexually abusing young girls.
Trevor Worthington, 88, his son Philip Worthington, 64, and William Tomkinson, 70, were convicted of charges including indecent assault and attempted rape.
The assaults against two victims took place in the 1970s and 1980s, Preston Crown Court heard on Thursday.
Another man, Derek Smith, 68, admitted indecent assault at an earlier hearing.
The abuse took place in a number of locations around Blackpool, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
William Tomkinson first abused one of the girls in the 1970s when she was 11 years old.
He was treasurer for the Salvation Army at the time.
Philip Worthington began to abuse the same girl when she was 13 years old and Derek Smith abused her when she was 14.
When the victim told Trevor Worthington about the abuse, including that his son had been one of the perpetrators, Worthington himself began abusing her, the CPS said.
During a police investigation into the first victim’s allegations, a second victim came forward to report that Tomkinson and Philip Worthington had sexually abused her in the 1980s, from when she was 15 years old.
Sophie Rozdolskyj, from the CPS, said: “These men abused their positions of high standing in the community to take advantage of two young and trusting girls.”
The men will be sentenced at a future date.
Dean Juster, director of the Salvation Army’s Safeguarding, apologised to the victims and said the organisation was “deeply concerned” that the assaults took place.
“As soon as we were made aware of the charges the action we took was to suspend the three individuals from our organisation. We worked closely with the police and provided access to our internal investigation records.
“We have listened carefully to this case and whilst we followed internal processes we had in place at the time we will ensure that we learn from any lessons in this case.”
Dean Juster, Director of The Salvation Army’s Safeguarding Department, said: “We unreservedly apologise for the pain the victims have suffered and our thoughts are firmly with them and their families. We are deeply concerned that these assaults took place and we hope that today’s guilty verdict will be a small step on a journey of healing for them.” “As soon as we were made aware of the charges the action we took was to suspend the three individuals from our organisation. We worked closely with the police and provided access to our internal investigation records. We have listened carefully to this case and whilst we followed internal processes we had in place at the time we will ensure that we learn from any lessons in this case. “We fully understand that it takes a lot of courage to come forward and we would like to reassure the public that any concerns they have around safeguarding will be investigated thoroughly and we will actively encourage victims to share their experiences with the police at the earliest possible stage, to ensure they have every opportunity to be heard.”
Trevor Worthington, 88, of Mayfield Avenue, Thornton, was found guilty of indecent assault by a majority jury after 21 hours of deliberations at Preston Crown Court. His son Philip Worthington, 64, of Warwick Place, Blackpool, was found guilty of seven indecent assaults. William Tompkinson, 70, of Raleigh Drive, South Shore – a married man who had been the treasurer of the Citadel – was convicted of 10 offences of indecent assault in the early 1970s. A fourth man – Derek Jeffrey Smith, 67, of Hall Park Drive, Lytham – previously admitted indecent assault.
The men were all members – known as ‘soldiers’ – of the Salvation Army. Sophie Rozdolskyj, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “These men abused their positions of high standing in the community to take advantage of two young and trusting girls. “Three of the men consistently denied the allegations throughout the investigation and prosecution. However the CPS presented a strong case to the jury which included compelling evidence from the two women who were abused by these men. “I would like to pay tribute to them for coming forward and giving their evidence to the court.” Earlier in the case Richard Haworth, prosecuting, said the first victim, now in her 50s, was abused from the age of 11 by the defendants.
Tompkinson was accused of fondling the girl during a van journey, with the seriousness of his acts progressing over time. When the girl turned 13 it was alleged Philip Worthington, who was also married, started abusing her, giving her lifts in his sports car. It was claimed when the girl turned to Trevor Worthington to confide in him about the abuse by the other two men he perpetrated abuse on her in his car. Another complainant came forward when the matters were being investigated by Lancashire Police. Mr Haworth said: “Philip Worthington would approach her from behind, grab her and molest her. This carried on for a number of years, culminating in an incident on a car park when he sexually assaulted her.”
An April 23, 2018 report in The Gazette states:
William Russell Tomkinson, of Raleigh Avenue, Blackpool, was sentenced to four years in prison for 10 counts of indecent assault. Philip Worthington, of Warwick Place, Blackpool, was convicted of four counts of indecent assault, indecency with a child and two attempted rape of the first woman, and five counts of indecent assault of the second woman. He was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison. Trevor Worthington, of Mayfield Avenue, Thornton, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for one count of indecent assault. Smith, of Hall Park Drive, Lytham, was given a 15 months sentence, suspended for two years with supervision, and must do 100 hours of unpaid work. Tomkinson, Smith and Trevor Worthington were placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years. Philip Worthington was placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely. All four men were given restraining orders banning them from contacting their victims.
Investigating officer Simon Morris, of Lancashire Constabulary’s public protection unit, said:
These men completely abused the trust that was placed in them, as members of the Salvation Army. To the outside world they appeared to be upstanding members of the church – when in fact they were anything but. Tomkinson, Smith and Philip Worthington sexually exploited their victim for their own satisfaction. When she eventually confided in Trevor Worthington – a man she ought to have been able to trust – he did not help her, instead using the opportunity to abuse her himself. The victims in this case have shown great courage in coming forward and reporting what happened to them more than 40 years ago and there is no doubt the abuse they suffered has had a lasting effect on them. I hope today’s sentence brings some comfort and allows them to move on with their lives.