Former Exmouth mayor John Humphreys is found guilty of historic sex offences against underage boys

Former Exmouth mayor John Humphreys has been found guilty of historic sex offences against two underage boys dating back to the 1990s.

Humphreys, aged 59, of Hartley Road, Exmouth, had denied the ten charges against him, said to have taken place between 1990 and 2002, but was convicted by a jury at Exeter Crown Court today (Wednesday, August 18).

Humphreys was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault against a boy aged 12-13 years old in 1991, three charges of buggery of a boy aged 12 or 13 years old during 1990-1991, and five counts of indecent assault of a boy aged 14-15 years old, between 1999 and 2002.

Former Exmouth town councillor Humphreys, who denied ever having any sexual activity with either of the boys, was remanded in custody, at his own request, and will return to court on Friday, August 20, for sentencing.

The first victim – now an adult – told police he met Humphreys cottaging in toilets in Exmouth – a term referring to anonymous sex between men in public loos.

He said he had suffered decades of sleepless nights because of the abuse, telling the court Humphreys took his virginity and touched him sexually.

He said he met Humphreys in a public toilet and went on to have sex with him on three occasions including at Humphreys’s home and once in a stone building on Woodbury Common.

The trial heard that he said during sex in the remote building he was pushed violently against a wall, and hurt, by an ‘aggressive’ Humphreys.

The second victim, who met Humphreys while on school work experience at the defendant’s gardening firm, said he ‘froze’ when as a teenage boy his boss took him to his flat during his lunch break, put porn on the television, and touched him sexually.

‘Some months later’ he had oral sex with Humphreys and described a third instance of sexual touching and masturbation, telling the court the experiences made him feel ‘dirty’.

The two victims went to the police independently of each other to report the sex abuse, one in 2004 and the other more than a decade later.

Mr Piers Norsworthy, prosecuting, said the investigation had been ‘lengthy’, adding gardening contractor Humphreys had denied ever having sexual activity with either of the males when he was interviewed about the allegations in 2016 and 2017.

During the trial, Humphreys, a former school governor and district councillor, told the jury he was ‘shocked’ by the ‘evil, wicked lies’, saying the males’ allegations were ‘vindictive’.

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