Steward at royal castle sentenced for sex abuse of boy 25 years ago

A steward at Windsor Castle was given a suspended prison sentence for grooming and abusing a young boy 25 years ago.

Ross Thomas, 76, from Nixey Close, Slough, Berkshire, pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to gross indecency with a child and indecent assault.

His co-defendant, Leonard Bennett, 76, of Shaftesbury Road, Gosport, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to the same offences and a third charge of indecent assault.

They were sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment for each charge to run concurrently, suspended for two years.

Judge Ian Pearson ordered them to sign on the sex offenders' register for 10 years and disqualified them from working with children.

He also ordered them to pay 1,000 compensation to their victim.

The court heard that the offences were in an 18-month period between November 1984 and May 1986 when the victim was aged between 11 and 12.

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said that the victim was targeted by the two paedophiles after he joined a gun club in Gosport.

She described how he was abused in various places including public toilets.

Judge Pearson described the pair as "Portsmouth's oldest paedophiles" and said: "What you did in relation to the victim was very serious." He suspended the prison terms because he considered the pair no longer to be a threat to children because of their old age.

Thomas was invited to become a steward at Windsor Castle as he was a regular visitor following his retirement in 1997.

He will have to leave the job because it involves contact with children.