Gloucester's William Barber 'abused kids for 12 years'

A man sexually abused eight children over a 12-year period starting in 1987, a court has heard.

William Barber, a former painter and decorator, has been accused of 16 counts of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child.

Ian Fenney, prosecuting, told the jury at Gloucester Crown Court the case was "an abstract lesson in the methodology of a paedophile".

Mr Barber, 50, of Southgate Street, Gloucester, denies the charges.

The court heard how the defendant was at one point a foster parent along with his wife, although he did not foster any of his alleged victims.

Eight children were abused, seven girls and a boy aged between five and 12, the court was told.

Children 'lying'

The prosecution said Mr Barber would offer to babysit some of his victims to help their parents out and would make his victims feel special and praise them, but then tell them to say nothing about what he had done to them.

In one case, the court heard Mr Barber told his victim that what was happening was "perfectly normal but that if he said something then something would happen to him".

The jury heard the victims, now adults, had been traumatised by what happened to them as young children.

All the offences took place between 1987 and 1999, the court was told.

When he was faced with the charges in police interviews, Mr Barber told officers that most of his alleged victims were lying, jurors heard.

The case continues and is expected to last two weeks.

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