A man from Rotherham has been found guilty of nine child sex abuse offences, following an investigation conducted by the National Crime Agency as part of Operation Stovewood.
A jury at Sheffield Crown Court today (23 November) convicted Neil Cawton, 68, from Rawmarsh of a series of offences, including engaging in sexual activity with a child, indecent assault and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between 2006 and 2012 when the four victims were aged between 13 and 16.
Cawton would buy the girls cigarettes and alcohol from a local shop in Rotherham, inviting them back to his home where the abuse and sexual assaults would take place.
Following the verdicts he was sentenced to a total of ten years in prison and will need to serve a minimum of six years before being considered for parole. He will also be placed on the sex offenders register for life.
NCA Senior Investigating Officer Andy Sandham said:
“Neil Cawton took advantage of these young and vulnerable teenagers, plying them with alcohol and cigarettes in a bid to get their trust.
“He tried to pretend he was their friend. He was not, he was their abuser.
“I’d like to pay tribute to those victims who were brave enough to come forward and tell their stories.
“Working with our partners in South Yorkshire we are determined to do all we can to support victims like them and bring offenders to justice.”
Sam Thompson, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS, said:
“Neil Cawton was calculating in his approach, luring young girls into his home with cigarettes and alcohol so that he could prey on them. Once he had gained their trust, he subjected them to degrading abuse for his own gratification.
“Child sexual abuse is a traumatising and life-changing crime, and I would like to commend the victims in this case for coming forward and reporting what happened to them. It is because of their evidence that we were able to secure a conviction and bring Cawton to justice.
“I hope this conviction sends a clear message that the CPS will relentlessly pursue justice and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, whenever that abuse took place. I encourage any victims of sexual abuse to report it to the police. It is never too late to seek justice.”
Operation Stovewood remains the single largest law enforcement operation of its kind ever undertaken in the UK, looking at non-familial child sexual abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
23 November 2023