Ex-kid’s hospital porter confesses to 69 sex attacks on kids over 35 years

A former porter at Great Ormond Street children's hospital has admitted to 69 counts of sexual assault against eight boys over a 35-year reign of terror.

Paul Farrell faces life imprisonment after confessing to 69 charges against children under 13 while working in the hospital between 1985 and 2020, many of which consisted of more than one instance of sexual assault.

The 55-year-old admitted to abusing two boys at the famous London hospital's linen room, to which he had a key as a member of staff.

Farrell brought the victims to his place of employment on the pretext of work experience, a court heard. Other offending took place in the victims' homes in London and Essex, Kent, and a community centre.

Prosecutors said Farrell's crimes amounted to at least 500 instances of abuse, listed as 69 offences. The offences include attempted rape, sexual assault of a child under 13 and making indecent photographs of children.

The victims were not patients at the hospital, the prosecutor said at Wood Green Crown Court.

Prosecutor Paul Douglass said: "He has pleaded to 69 offences. Many of those are multi-incident counts.

"We are looking at several hundred discreet acts of abuse over 35 years on boys aged between five and 16."

A search of Farrell's home in Camden, north London, last year unearthed a safe in his bedroom containing numerous indecent DVDs and photographs of children. Analysis of his mobile phone also found indecent images of children and extreme pornographic material.

He pleaded guilty to a further five counts of possessing indecent images and extreme pornography of children in relation to this at a previous hearing.

More than 20 other charges were left to lie on file and Farrell will not face trial as no further charges are expected.

Mr Douglass told the court some of the boys were abused over many years.

He said: "A lot of the offences were committed…at the victims' home addresses, the victim's mother's address, and a community centre.

"A number of boys were abused at the centre over a period of many years."

Regarding the offences committed in Great Ormond Street, the prosecutor said: "They were brought in on the pretext of work experience.

"There is no basis of charges that relate to the abuse of patients at the hospital. It was bringing these children into where he had access to a private place."

Judge Noel Lucas QC said the sentencing process will take place over two days due to the high number of offences. He also said he will have to consider imposing a life sentence on the defendant.

David Osborne, defending, said: "My client understands if it is not a life sentence, it's bound to be an extended sentence."

Farrell did not attend the court hearing on Friday.

A spokesman for Great Ormond Street Hospital said: "First and foremost, our thoughts are with all the victims of this horrendous abuse.

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"Paul Farrell has admitted to a catalogue of truly awful crimes and we are deeply sorry that he was able to abuse his position and use our hospital to commit some of his offences. His actions are in direct contrast to everything we stand for as a children's hospital.

"We regularly review our safeguarding processes to ensure they are in line with national guidance and strive for best practice."

He went on: "We will continue to work with the police to understand more about his crimes and consider whether there is anything more we can do to prevent cases like this.

"We know that the crimes he committed and his association with the hospital may cause alarm and distress among our patients, their families and our wider hospital community."

The spokesman added: "We would like to reiterate what has been said in court; that Paul Farrell did not target children at GOSH.

"We urge anyone who has concerns about this case to call the helpline that we have set up with the NSPCC on 0800 101 996."

Farrell's offending will be heard in detail by the judge on May 21 and his sentence will be handed down on May 24 at Wood Green Crown Court.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 0845 30 30 900 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

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