Couple in their 70s from Bow jailed 21 years for child cruelty

Jailed for years of child abuse... Valerie Stannard, 73, and husband Roy Stannard, 74. Picture: MPS

Jailed for years of child abuse... Valerie Stannard, 73, and husband Roy Stannard, 74. Picture: MPS - Credit: MPS

A couple in their 70s have been jailed for a total of 21 years for a catalogue of physical and emotional abuse against five children going back nearly 50 years.

Valerie Stannard, 73, and her husband Roy, 74, now living by Victoria Park at Barge Lane in Bow, subjected young children at their former address in Stoke Newington to harrowing physical and sexual abuse from 1969 until the 1980s.

One child had tissue put down the front of his pyjamas which was set on fire. Another had his hand placed on a gas fire.

Other children, now grown up, recounted beatings with belts, sticks and other weapons as well as sexual assaults and being locked in a basement cupboard as punishments.

Valerie Stannard was sentenced to nine years on Thursday after being found guilty of nine charges of child cruelty after being found guilty at their trial at Snaresbrook Crown Count on March 24.

Her husband, convicted of three charges of child cruelty and six charges of sexual assault on a girl, was jailed for 12 years.

“The children suffered years of horrendous abuse and cruelty by the Stannards,” Det Con Janet Glover from the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command said after Thursday’s sentencing.

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“It has left them emotionally scarred for life. But I hope the Stannards’ sentencing helps bring the victims some ‘closure’, despite the couple showing not a shred of compassion or remorse for their actions.”

He paid tribute to the victims for their “tremendous courage in coming forward and giving evidence”.

The Stannards subjected their five victims to years of abuse, their trial heard. The children were forced to carry out so many chores before school that they rarely had time for breakfast. They were rarely fed at all, prosecutors said.

One boy with learning difficulties was subjected to severe emotional abuse. Valerie Stannard shoved a bar of soap in his mouth with such force it became lodged in his throat and he almost choked.

The crimes came to light after one boy, now in his 50s, finally came forward and went to the police. The Stannards were arrested in July, 2014, and subsequently charged.

Detectives have since launched a public appeal for anyone suspecting child abuse to contact the police, children’s social services or the NSPCC.