9 September 2011, 16:32
A 'cunning predator' who sexually assaulted young boys over two decades has been told he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Peter Holland, 79, of Bankfield Drive, Bramcote Hills, Beeston, abused 13 boys - now grown men - between 1974 and 1993.
He pleaded guilty to ten counts of gross indecency and 15 counts of indecent assault and was sentenced to 6 years in prison at Nottingham Crown Court today. On sentencing, the judge said he was taking into account the fact that Holland pleaded guilty.
Nottinghamshire Police arrested Holland in September 2010 after one of his victims bravely came forward and reported the abuse he had endured as a child.
The man, now 38, said Holland had sexually assaulted him on a number of occasions when he was a young boy between 1979 and 1984.
Officers subsequently searched Holland's address and discovered over 1,300 photographs containing images of young boys or men.
Detectives launched an extensive investigation to trace the people in the pictures, and a further 12 men - now aged between 33 and 51 - were located.
All made similar allegations and said they had sexually abused by Holland between the ages 11 and 15.
The abuse took place at a number of different locations within Nottingham.
He pleaded guilty to all charges at Nottingham Crown Court on 10 August this year.
Detective Constable Perveez Rashid, from CID, said: "Holland is a manipulative and cunning predator who targeted young, vulnerable boys to satisfy his own perverse pleasure.
"His victims have shown incredible strength and courage in coming forward. They have suffered in silence for many years and have lived with the long and enduring pain of childhood abuse.
"The sentence handed to Holland today will hopefully offer them some comfort to know their attacker has finally been brought to justice.
"Nottinghamshire Police will do everything in its power to apprehend those who perpetrate these sorts of crimes, regardless of how long ago an offence was committed.
"All victims will be treated with respect and sensitivity and we will do all we can to secure a conviction to prevent people like Holland from harming anyone else."
How he was caught
On 13 September 2010, the full extent of Peter Holland's sexual abuse of young boys was finally revealed.
Officers raided his three bedroom house in Bankfield Drive, in Bramcote Hills, Beeston, after one of his victims broke a life-time of silence and revealed he had been sexually assaulted by Holland as a young boy.
Over 3,000 photographs were found in suitcases in Holland's loft. Many were non-sexual pictures of men or boys, all meticulously filed and numbered with names, locations, dates, and the ages of his subjects on the back.
Police were then faced with the exhaustive task of tracing each of the men in the images and potentially resurfacing painful and buried memories of childhood sexual abuse.
First, police had to research Holland's background.
DC Perveez Rashid, who led the investigation, said: "Investigating an historical sexual abuse case is very different to investigating an incident that has just happened. There is no forensic evidence and it often comes down to one person's word against another, so we had to start at the beginning and find out all we could about Holland's past."
After liaising with Scotland Yard and trawling through Wiltshire Court archives, DC Rashid discovered Holland had been convicted of seriously sexually assaulting five young boys in Wiltshire in 1959 when he was 27-years-old.
Holland had just left the RAF and had been working as a housemaster at a hostel for boys, where he had preyed on his vulnerable victims.
He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison and on his release, Holland left Wiltshire and moved to Nottinghamshire to live with his mother in Beeston.
DC Rashid said: "He was a loner and lived with his mum all his life until she died. He worked at Plesseys telephone and electrics company in Beeston until his retirement."
Throughout this time, Holland surrounded himself with children by volunteering at local churches, cubs, and scout groups.
"He played the part of a caring community-spirited person who would happily help out local families by taking their sons swimming, to pantomimes and on holidays and trips.
"He was cunning and manipulative and spent a lot of time gaining the trust of his victims and their parents. He then abused his unique position as their carer to satisfy his own perverse pleasures."
Decades later, DC Rashid used the names on the back of Holland's photographs to try and trace potential victims.
He cross referenced the names on police databases and also set up a special Facebook account to contact potential victims through the social networking site.
He said: "Anyone who looked like they could be the people in the photographs, I sent them a message with my mobile number on there asking them to get in touch. Some got back to me to say they had known Holland but had not been abused by him while others confirmed that they had in fact been victims.
"Their usual response was that they had been expecting a knock at the door for many years. Each of his victims had kept their abuse a secret from everyone they know and love for their entire lives. It was clear that they still live with embarrassment and a deep-rooted shame about what happened to them.
"The abuse they endured as children undoubtedly remained with them throughout their adult lives. Many have experienced relationship problems and are still struggling to come to terms with what he did."
In interview, DC Rashid said Holland made no attempt to hide his sickening crimes.
"He was polite and chatty and loved to talk for hours on end about the abuse he inflicted.
"His excuse was that he was born with a sexual desire for young boys - he said he had a disease and there was nothing he could do about it. He showed absolutely no remorse for the appalling abuse he inflicted on young boys who trusted him implicitly."
DC Rashid believes Holland had probably been abusing young boys his entire life and probably stopped offending in the late 1990s due to his age.
"The most recent pictures we found were from 2010, just before he was arrested. He certainly continued to take photographs of men and boys, but we don't believe he assaulted anyone in the last ten years or so.
"I am certain however, that there are potentially hundreds of other victims out there who were abused by Holland many years ago and have not yet confronted what happened to them.
"These men will probably now be adults and live all over the country, and the world. There is still time to come forward and tell us what happened in the hope that it can offer them some peace and closure."
Quotes from victims
"I never told anyone about what Peter had done to me. I felt ashamed of myself for allowing him to perform sexual acts on me. I believe that I blocked the whole episode out of my mind for a number of years and only recall it in my darkest moments. "
"I have never disclosed to anyone that Peter indecently assaulted me. Now that I think about him as an adult it is clear that he was a devious man who befriended my family with the intention of sexually assaulting a young boy. "
"It sickens me now to think that Peter befriended us young innocent boys out of some sexual perversion."
"I now believe that Peter befriended me in order to groom me for his own sexual perversions. "
"After that day I made sure that I was never alone with Peter. I never told anyone about what had happened out of embarrassment."
"I have kept this abuse a secret for all my life and DC Rashid is the first person I have discussed it with. It is something that occasionally plays on my mind particularly when I see or hear of similar incidents in the news."
Anyone who would like to speak to DC Rashid about this case, should contact Nottinghamshire Police on 0300 300 99 99, quoting 'Operation Carrack.'