Cruel’ husband and wife ‘sexually abused children for years’ in care home they ran together in the 1960s and 70s

Sylvia and Kelvin Rostron ‘attacked two under-16s’ Mr Rostron, 70, was ‘more tactile’ with the girls than the boys, jury is told The couple face child cruelty and indecent assault charges

A husband and wife sexually abused children in the homes they ran during the 1960s and 70s, a court heard.

Sylvia and Kelvin Rostron attacked a boy and a girl both aged under 16 over a number of years in east Lancashire, the jury was told.
One alleged victim claimed Mr Rostron, 70, would come into her room on school nights while everybody else was asleep and wake her up before cuddling and sexually assaulting her.

She finally decided to go to the police after telling a former worker at the home she had been abused when they bumped into each other again by chance years later, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Kevin Donnelly, prosecuting, said: ‘She felt dirty and horrible about herself. It would make her cry.

‘She said that she had been frightened and had not known what to do. She had never been able to look at herself in the mirror.

‘She believed that Sylvia knew about her husband’s abuse of her. She had regularly run away from home as a result of the abuse that she was suffering.’
The court was told that one woman, who had lived in the homes at the same time as the alleged victims, remembered Mr Rostron being ‘more tactile’ with the girls in the house, rather than the boys.
Mr Donnelly added: ‘Mr Rostron is a man who had been very tactile with the girls in the home.
‘He would commonly pick them up and tickle them.

‘One of the alleged victims said that he hated Mr Rostron with a vengeance, but that he had not been big enough at the time to do anything about it.
‘The other spoke of Mrs Rostron as someone who picked on children in the home.
‘She would be nice one day, then horrible a few days later.’
During a police investigation, a second alleged victim came forward and accused Mr Rostron, who had worked in an abattoir, of beating children, making them stand naked outside and depriving them of sleep, the court heard.
He said Mrs Rostron, now 65, also indecently assaulted him on several occasions. This included washing him in the bath when he was a teenager.
It was also claimed that she would commonly fail to wear underwear.
The homes cannot be named for legal reasons. Both defendants, from Rishton, face two charges of child cruelty.
Mr Rostron is also accused of three counts of indecent assault and his wife faces five charges of indecent assault. They deny all of the offences.
The case continues.