THE depraved actions of a perverted social worker at a notorious institution in Penketh have been revealed in court.

Gordon Bennett, a former social worker at Greystone Heath Community Home, sexually abused four teenage boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

This involved him touching them in an inappropriate manner during bogus medical examinations and his ‘cruel and unnecessary’ use of the cane.

The 73-year-old was deemed unfit to stand trial due to his deteriorating mental health, with him currently residing in a care home suffering from degenerative Alzheimer’s disease.

However, a trial took place in his absence in December, where a jury found five counts of indecent assault on a child, two counts of cruelty to a child and one count of indecency with a child to be proven.

Bennett, of Jones Farm Road in Liverpool, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court where the impact of his offending was laid bare.

The court heard from judge Gary Woodhall how all of the abuse took place when Bennett was employed as a social worker at Greystone Heath.

The victims were all teenage boys who were sentenced by the courts to serve intermediate treatment orders at the institution as young offenders.

While in his care as a result of court orders, he performed bogus one-to-one medical examinations on them for which there was no need or justification.

He was not qualified to carry them out and used this cover to touch boys on their private parts, often wearing a doctor’s coat and medical items.

When playing games such as ‘Simon says’, Bennett would use a cane in ‘cruel and unnecessary’ circumstances.

Some of the abuse took place at the home itself, while on other occasions it occurred at a holiday cottage in north Wales.

Victims told the court that Bennett liked to use a cane and would also regularly hit them for answering questions incorrectly or putting their elbows on the table.

One boy at Greystone Heath was told he needed to have a medical exam, where he was instructed to remove all his lower clothing and cough while touched inappropriately by Bennett.

In an impact statement, the victim said he was frightened to tell anyone what happened and that the incident ‘completely ruined his life’.

It caused mistrust, self-loathing, shame and made him suffer from suicidal thoughts.

Liverpool Crown Court

Liverpool Crown Court

Impact statements from other victims revealed similar sexual abuse.

The court heard how the defendant is subject to constant supervision through a deprivation of liberty order due to his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, meaning he cannot go into the community without supervision.

Judge Woodhall spoke of how the court’s powers were not the same in this instance as they would be during a regular sentencing exercise and were highly limited.

“I am satisfied that if he was fit to stand trial and had been convicted by a jury and I had to pass a sentence, I would impose a prison sentence,” he said.

“Bearing I mind everything I have read, a supervision order is not necessary, as measures are already in place to ensure the public’s protection against any risk the defendant may pose.

“The only sentence I can impose is an absolute discharge.”

Bennett was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Following the court hearing, DC Vicky Cartledge said: “I would like to acknowledge the bravery that all of the victims have shown throughout this investigation.

“Bennett held a position of trust – he was well aware that all of the victims were vulnerable young boys and he was supposed to care for them.

“Instead, he abused his position and purposefully chose to take advantage of the boys.

“What Bennett put them through is something that no child should ever have to experience, but thanks to the courage shown by all of the victims, he is now facing the consequences of his actions.

“I hope that the conclusion of this case will provide closure to the victims and allow them to move forward with their lives.

“I urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse – no matter how long ago it took place – to come forward and report it.

“You will be listened to and we will do everything we can to bring the offenders to justice.”

If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, or know of someone who has, contact Cheshire Police by calling 101, visiting or calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.