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Wrexham 'paedophile ring' accused of abusing young boys

Trial of seven defendants includes David Lightfoot, of Parklands View, Little Sutton and Keith Stokes, from Quarry Hill in Farndon

Mold Crown Court where seven people are on trial accused of historic sex abuse

A predatory paedophile ring operated in the Wrexham area in the 1970s and 1980s and a house at Brymbo near Wrexham was the centre of that ring, a jury was told today.

Boys aged between 10 and 15 were sexually abused and passed around the group, claimed prosecuting barrister Eleanor Laws QC.

Troubled boys and young teenagers would congregate at the home of Reginald Gareth Cooke (aka Gary Cooke) (aka Mark Grainger)at his then home in Kent Road, in Brymbo, it is alleged.

Mold Crown Court heard they would watch pornographic movies, be plied with drink and drugs and be sexually abused.

On occasions, they were given money, she said.

The boys were young, vulnerable sometimes isolated by family circumstances and manipulated by Cooke and others, she added.

“No doubt chosen for the fact that the defendants could exploit their youth, any difficulties they were in at the time and groom them using treats, alcohol, cinema trips, car trips, pornography and above all, attention, leading to grave sexual abuse,” she claimed.

At least two of the boys involved would appear to have been key in introducing their friends into the defendants’ circle, she said.

Boys were abused at Cooke’s home and also were taken out in cars to various addresses and to a bar belonging to one of the defendants, David Lightfoot, called Snowy’s Bar, it was alleged.

Miss Laws told the jury none of the complainants could give evidence about how Cooke arranged the parties with his co-defendants or what was discussed in relation to which defendant would abuse which boy, where and when.

“None ever saw money change hands.

“They were children and clearly it would not have been in the adults’ interests to have these discussions in front of them,” she said.

But one complainant did describe, no doubt with an element of hindsight, that he got a feeling that money did change hands between those men and Cooke.

“He points to the fact that he was given money- some times what he called a lot of money, by these men. He was given gifts and openly admits that he was able to, and did steal money from some of them,” she said.

The main complainant would describe the abuse he suffered in the early to mid-1980s at the hands of each and every one of these seven defendants and others who were now deceased, she said.

The defendants Reginald Gareth Cooke (aka Gary Cooke) (aka Mark Grainger) aged 64, from Galway Road, Leicester; David Lightfoot, aged 72, a Wrexham publican in the 1980s from Parklands View, Little Sutton, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire; Keith Stokes, aged 62, a former haulier and abattoir manager, from Quarry Hill in Farndon, Chester, former local radio presenter Roy Norry, aged 55, from Hamilton Road, Connah’s Quay; Neil Phoenix, 63, of Windsor Road, New Broughton, Wrexham, civil servant Edward Julian Huxley, aged 70, from Lower Road, Cookham, Maidenhead, Berkshire, and retired teacher Roger Owen Griffiths, 76, of Coed Efa Lane in New Broughton, Wrexham, deny 47 charges of historic sexual abuse between them.

The trial before Judge Rhys Rowlands is proceeding.

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