Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Singer faces jail over child sex abuse

A singer, who carried out a 20-year campaign of child sex abuse while performing with top stars like Take That, was facing a lengthy prison sentence today.

Jason Hoyte - dubbed "the devil's worker" by one of his accusers and "every parent's nightmare" by police - infiltrated south London's church community to find victims as young as four.

The 37-year-old "sexual predator" used his success as a talented entertainer to first "win the trust" of parents and then target their children, sometimes in their own homes.

One told Inner London Crown Court he abused her "too many times to count".

Later, while a Lambeth council youth worker, the serial paedophile and regular churchgoer groomed other children that fell into his clutches.

"He took advantage of the trust placed in him in that position," said prosecutor Nicholas Atkinson.

Although various "concerns" were raised about his behaviour, the full picture remained unclear and he was repeatedly given the benefit of the doubt by both parents and some church leaders.

The court heard when one of his accusers spotted him in the street two years ago, she told him: "Why don't you admit to what you have done? Why don't you face your demons?"

As she walked off, she screamed: "You're a paedo, you're a paedo."

Some time later she challenged him to appear on the Jeremy Kyle TV show and take a lie detector test.

But programme researchers told her the allegations were too serious to air.

Afterwards she texted Hoyte, telling him: "Your family don't want the truth, they just want their innocent little choir boy, they don't know he's carrying out the devil's work."

He was finally caught last year when he performed at a special function organised by a church that had actually banned him.

Past worries were mentioned to church elders and this time the police were contacted and an investigation launched.

Publicity saw a string of victims emerge, including a member at another church who revealed the pervert - married with two young daughters - abused her 17 years earlier.

However, police are convinced "there may well be" others he targeted who have yet to come forward.

Shaven-headed Hoyte, who has also performed as a backing vocalist with Boyzone, Leona Lewis and James Brown, was convicted of abusing six children between 1987 to 2006.

The defendant, of Court Farm Road, Bromley, south-east London, admitted texting one girl that he loved her and mentioned another youngster had a crush on him, but he denied any wrongdoing.

But after deliberating for 17 hours over four days the five woman, seven man jury decided the events company director was lying and convicted him of 14 counts of indecent assault and two of sexual activity with a child between 1987 and 2006.

He was cleared of three other indecent assault counts as well as four sexual activity allegations.

As the last guilty verdict was announced Hoyte began shaking his head, muttering and rocking backwards and forwards.

However, relatives of victims packing the public gallery burst into cheers shouting "righteousness" and "justice".

Then they repeatedly applauded jurors as they filed from court.

Judge Nicholas Philpott adjourned the case until December 11 for pre-sentence reports.

Remanding Hoyte in custody, he warned he wanted the question of "dangerousness" assessed - an indication he is considering jailing him indefinitely.

The singer also faces a mandatory lifetime ban on working with children.

Outside court case officer Detective Sergeant Samantha Townsend said "there may well be other victims osof Hoyte's who have not yet come forward.

"If sO we would urge them to contact police as soon as possible."

She continued: "Hoyte was every parent's nightmare - the family friend who appears respectable and trustworthy but turns out to be a fraud.

"His actions had an enormous impact on the communities who welcomed him and saw him as one of their own.

"We must thank the young women who have finally realised they were taken advantage of and have been brave enough to come forward and tell police what happened to them," she added.

Mr Atkinson told the four-and-a-half week trial that apart from being a "talented musician" Penetcostalist Hoyte was also a "sexual predator" who began abusing children while just a teenager himself.

He said as a high profile member of the south London church community and director of an events company called Accapella Records - which arranged holiday programmes and other activities for youngsters - he met a large number of families with children.

But no sooner had he wormed his way into their trust than he began betraying it.

"It started as inappropriate behaviour towards very young girls," explained Mr Atkinson.

"He would win the trust of the families, with their parents, before the abuse took place, sometimes...in their own homes."

When he began targeting teenagers he would "act towards them like an older brother".

But then he would begin using "inappropriate language" and sent them late night text messages.

Mr Atkinson said Hoyte remained free for so long because many of the "children didn't complain.

"Possibly they knew no better. If they did mention it to their parents, the full extent of their abuse was never identified.

"In addition, adults were hesitant about what to do. Possibly they did not want to believe the complaints. Certainly, they wished the problems would go away.

"The solution appeared to have been to avoid contact with the defendant or ban him from their homes. But he simply moved on to others and continued to get away with it."

Even when a number of churches became "concerned" about his behaviour and barred him, he remained undeterred.

Then, in 2004, Hoyte became a youth worker for a Lambeth council-backed scheme, giving him opportunities to target even more youngsters.

Apart from the six victims named on the indictment, two others came forward to claim they, too, had been sexually abused by the defendant while children.

Some sobbed as they recalled their ordeals at his hands, although without exception, they and their parents described him as "charismatic and charming".

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz