الإثنين , مايو 17 2021

Briton guilty of Kenyan child abuse

Simon HarrisSimon Harris committed offences while running a charity in Gilgil, in Kenya’s Rift Valley

A British charity boss who preyed on vulnerable Kenyan street children has been found guilty of sexual abuse.

Simon Harris was found guilty of seven charges of indecent and sexual assault on youngsters in Gilgil, as well as possessing indecent images of children.

Birmingham Crown Court heard he would lure boys to his East African home by offering them food, shelter and money.

Harris, 55, of Pudleston, near Leominster, Herefordshire was cleared of seven charges, including rape.

The jury unanimously found Harris guilty of five sex assaults, including against a victim as young as six, and on two counts of indecent assault.

Documentary crew tip

Judge Philip Parker QC told jurors he would accept majority verdicts on five remaining counts against the defendant.

Harris had faced 23 charges in total, including 18 allegations relating to assaults.

Simon HarrisHarris was head of the gap-year charity VAE, which placed British volunteers in Kenyan schools

Simon Harris in GilgilHarris would drive into the town of Gilgil and offer street children food and money to go home with him

The offences were committed while Harris was running a gap year charity he set up in the East African country in the 1990s.

During his trial prosecutors said he lured homeless boys to his home, known locally as “The Green House”, by offering them food and shelter.

The court heard he would drive into Gilgil and encourage children into his Land Rover with food and money.

The abuse came to light when a Channel 4 documentary team making a film about the plight of Gilgil’s street children was given information about his activities.

A number of witnesses gave evidence against Harris via satellite link from the Kenyan town.

Harris was prosecuted using legislation which allows British citizens to be tried for sex offences committed abroad against children if it is also an offence in that country.

Before the trial, Harris admitted six offences of indecent assault against three boys aged between 13 and 14 when he was a teacher at Shebbear College, Devon, in the 1980s.

He had originally faced 22 charges relating to assaults in Kenya, but Judge Philip Parker QC told jurors four had been removed from the indictment mid-trial.

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