May Lodge: Victims tell of sex-abuse ordeals at the former Scarborough children's home

May Lodge, on Filey Road
May Lodge, on Filey Road

Victims of Maurice Berry, who was jailed this week for sexual abuse at a former Scarborough children's home, told the court of the horrific crimes.

Berry, 64, was jailed for 13 years at York Crown Court for rape and systematic sexual abuse of children at May Lodge Children’s Home on Filey Road in the 1970s.

Berry, who was in his early 20s at the time, had denied raping one girl and sexually abusing two others.

At the York Crown Court trial one of the victims described Berry as “pretty snidey” and said he would come into her room “every opportunity he got”.

“He used to walk around like the Gestapo,” she added.

See HERE for details of the Maurice Berry court case

Berry, now a married father-of-two, had also worked at a school for handicapped children, a Dr Barnardo’s school in Scotland and Scawby Grove Children’s Home in North Lincolnshire before moving to May Lodge as a live-in care worker in the 1970s. After leaving May Lodge he never worked with children again.

Berry, described as “quite arrogant” by former colleagues, moved back to Lincolnshire to work as a bus driver and then as a housing-liaison officer with Grimsby Borough Council. He then found work as a chartered surveyor providing property and valuation advice to public-sector organisations.

One of Berry’s victims, now a mother, said her life had been “turned upside down”.

Another victim, who ended up having a nervous breakdown, said that while abusing her, Berry would tell her that “thousands of dads” did that sort of thing.

“All my life I felt dirty, like (it was) a stain on me,” she added.

The third victim, also a married mother, said: “I remember how petrified I would be when I went to bed at night.”

The jury found Berry guilty of all but one of the 18 counts, including the rapes of the teenage girl.

Judge Sean Morris told Berry: “You were preying firstly on two little girls. They were all alone in the world… in a big, rambling Victorian children’s home. And you were wandering around, with your keys, taking your pleasure from these little girls in their beds at night. It was wicked.”

He said Berry had “conditioned and manipulated” the rape victim “to such an extent that it was submission”.

The judge said although Berry had “moved on” in his life and had not offended since, he had “left damaged lives behind”.

Last month, 72-year-old Raymond Vasey, from Darlington, was jailed for 17 years for raping and sexually abusing young girls at the children’s home in the 1970s.

Vasey, who was also a live-in care worker in his 20s at the time, preyed on at least three young girls – one just six years of age.

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