May Lodge: former care worker Raymond Vasey hid his sex-crime secrets for nearly 50 years

Raymond Vasey
Raymond Vasey

Maurice Berry was the second man to be jailed for sexual abuse at the former May Lodge children's home in Scarborough in the 1970s.

In May, 72-year-old former care worker Raymond Vasey was jailed for 17 years for raping and sexually abusing youngsters at May Lodge.

Raymond Vasey was a live-in worker “with authority” at May Lodge when he started preying on at least three young girls – one just six years of age.

Vasey repeatedly raped one of the girls inside a self-contained flat at the children’s home where he lived with his wife, a jury at York Crown Court heard.

He also “spirited her away” to isolated spots in the countryside where he raped her on “numerous” occasions, said prosecutor David Lamb.

His victims - now middle-aged or elderly - had suffered deep psychological harm throughout their childhood and adult years due to Vasey’s wicked crimes.

Vasey, who was in his 20s at the time, was first hauled in for questioning in the 1970s but told police a pack of lies and no prosecution was ever brought against him at the time. One of the victims came forward again in the mid-1990s but Vasey disappeared.

He hid the dark secret for almost 50 years, but his crimes finally caught up with him in September 2017 when all the victims gave full accounts of Vasey’s “terrible betrayal of trust”.

He was accused of 16 separate charges involving the sexual abuse of very-young children, including indecent assault and inciting an act of gross indecency. He admitted eight charges but denied the rest, including four counts of rape and sexual assault.

During his week-long trial, one of the victims spoke of “sinister” goings-on at the children’s home which at the time went “unexplained”.

The sex attacks took place inside Vasey’s flat, in a bedroom, a bathroom and next to some lockers.

Another victim was sexually assaulted in a cloakroom where he pushed her against a wall.

The incident was witnessed by another girl who followed Vasey to his flat one day “out of curiosity” because she suspected something was amiss.

She said she saw a young girl stood in Vasey’s hallway “wearing only a skirt and a white bra” being sexually assaulted by the care worker.

The “shocked” young witness ran off, but Vasey later caught up with her, telling her “she was not to tell anyone what she had seen; that he was a member of staff and because she was only a child nobody would believe her”.

The same victim was raped “inside the relative privacy of (Vasey’s) flat” after he had groomed her.

She said Vasey also took her out in his Renault to woods in the countryside, where he raped her “numerous times”.

When Vasey was quizzed by police in October 2017, he admitted some of the offences, namely incitement to gross indecency against the first victim. When officers asked him if he enjoyed that kind of thing, he replied: “Yeah, absolutely.”

“He described his behaviour as ‘like an addiction’,” said Mr Lamb.

Vasey, of Pierremont Drive, Darlington, admitted he got a kick out of getting one of the girls to touch him intimately, although he continued to deny other allegations including the rapes, which he said he “couldn’t remember”.

One of the victims, now a grandmother, said she had hidden what happened to her all those years ago because she felt “ashamed” and ultimately suicidal.

Another victim had been “damaged in a way that’s hard to measure” and she had “struggled for years with self-esteem and… been racked with self-doubt.”

The jury found Vasey guilty of all charges.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Vasey: “May Lodge should have been a place of safety for your victims. Instead, these three vulnerable, isolated girls were preyed upon by you, because of what you called an addiction you couldn’t control, (which is) just another way of you seeking to avoid responsibility for what you did all those years ago.

“You chose to abuse these young girls for your own sexual gratification, and you took every opportunity which you could find to prey on them for your own sexual pleasure.”