Man convicted of sexually abusing schoolboy

Robin Croft was convicted at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Robin Croft was convicted at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

A Suffolk man who groomed and sexually abused a shy and quiet schoolboy has been convicted by a jury.

Robin Croft, 61, of Marigold Drive, Red Lodge, shared a number of interests with the teenager and gave him alcohol to manipulate him.

Croft denied seven offences of sexual activity with a child and six offences of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

But at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, a jury found Croft guilty of 11 out of the 13 offences, with a not guilty verdict returned on one count of sexual activity with a child.

Another charge of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity was left on file.

The offences date back more than a decade.

The court previously heard that Croft was "like a god" to the victim, who treated Croft "like a father figure".

Giving evidence during the trial, the mother of the victim told the jury that she did raise concerns about the nature of their relationship at the time, but both Croft and her son assured her there was nothing to worry about.

The victim's mother told the jury she once approached Croft and told him: "I don't think it's right that a young child has a fascination with you."

She told the jury that Croft replied that he didn't think it was right either, but that the alleged victim was "stubborn" and enjoyed spending time with him.

The alleged victim contacted the police in January 2017 and Croft was arrested two months later.

Emma Nash, prosecuting, said: "Clearly, he [the victim] was besotted with Robin Croft, he thought he was the best thing since sliced bread.

"But Mr Croft groomed him for his own sexual pleasure."

During police interviews Croft claimed the schoolboy had made sexual advances to him which he had rejected.

Miss Nash said Croft claimed the victim had made up the allegations to get him into trouble after they fell out.

But a jury of six men and six women found him guilty of 11 counts by a 11-1 majority verdict.

Judge Rupert Overbury bailed Croft with the conditions that he surrender his passport, reside and sleep at his home address and have no contact with the victim.

He will appear for sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on January 8.

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