Former children's home worker John Cowan jailed for abuse

John Cowan Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption John Cowan was sentenced to eight years in prison for historic child abuse offences

A former children's home worker has been sentenced to eight years in prison for child abuse committed in the 1970s.

John Cowan, 72, was found guilty at Harrow Crown Court of sexually abusing six children at a care home in Ealing.

He was convicted on nine counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency.

Cowan, of Littlebourne, Hither Green in Lewisham, was tracked down after a victim went to police in January 2013.

She told officers he abused her when she was aged seven or eight in 1971 and 1972 in the attic of the home, and believed other children had been abused too, the Metropolitan Police said.

'House father'

Officers identified six further victims from the children's home: five women aged between five and 10 at the time and a man who was aged six at the time of the abuse.

Mr Cowan left the children's home in 1973 having worked there as a "house father".

He was traced and arrested on 26 July 2013 and later charged.

The jury heard Mr Cowan had 24 previous convictions for sexual offences against children.

He was jailed for 12-and-a-half years in 1994 on 16 counts and is on the Sex Offenders' Register for life.

Det Con Cathy Hewitson said Mr Cowan "took advantage of his senior position at the home to abuse a number of vulnerable children". He worked at several children's homes in Essex, London and Scotland from the 1970s onward.

She added: "It is highly likely there are other victims out there who perhaps have felt too scared to come forward before or thought there was little point given the passage of time."

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