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Couple deny historic child abuse in East Lancashire children's homes
A HUSBAND and wife have gone on trial accused of indecently assaulting youngsters in the children’s homes they ran.
Sylvia and Kelvin Rostron are accused of attacking two under 16s who were in their care at East Lancashire homes in the 1960s and 1970s.
The couple, of Clarke Street, Rishton, also stand accused of child cruelty charges.
One of the alleged victims said Mr Rostron, 70, would come into her room on school nights while everybody else was sleeping, wake her up, cuddle her and sexually assault her, Burnley Crown Court heard.
Prosecuting, Kevin Donnelly said the alleged victim had decided to come forward after she met a former worker at the home by chance and told her she had been abused over a number of years.
Mr Donnelly told a jury: “She felt dirty and horrible about herself. It would make her cry.
“She said that she had been frightened and had not known what to do. She had never been able to look at herself in the mirror.
“She believed that Sylvia knew about her husband’s abuse of her. She had regularly run away from home as a result of the abuse that she was suffering.”
The court was told that one woman, who had lived in the homes at the same time as the alleged victims, remembered Mr Rostron as being ‘more tactile’ with the girls in the house, rather than the boys.
During a police investigation, another alleged victim came forward and accused Mr Rostron, who had worked in an abattoir, of beating youngsters, making them stand naked outside and depriving them of sleep, the court heard.
He said Mrs Rostron, now 65, also indecently assaulted him on several occasions. This included washing him in the bath when he was a teenager.
It was also claimed that she would commonly fail to wear underwear.
The homes, which cannot be named for legal reasons, were not in Rishton.
Both defendants face two charges of child cruelty.
Mr Rostron is accused of three counts of indecent assault and his wife five counts of indecent assault.
They deny all of the charges.
Mr Donnelly told the court: “Mr Rostron is a man who had been very tactile with the girls in the home.
“He would commonly pick them up and tickle them.
“One of the alleged victims said that he hated Mr Rostron with a vengeance, but that he had not been big enough at the time to do anything about it.
“The other spoke of Mrs Rostron as someone who picked on children in the home.
“She would be nice one day, then horrible a few days later.”