Former care home head given jail term

Rodney Smallman
Rodney Smallman

A former head of an Oxfordshire children’s home has been jailed for 12-and-a-half years for abusing young boys.

Rodney Smallman, 73, of Erica Close, Banbury, was convicted at Oxford Crown Court on December 19 of 15 counts of indecent assault. He was sentenced at the same court on Monday.

The offences took place between 1976 and 1982 when Smallman ran a children’s home in Oxfordshire. One of the victims told the police about the abuse in 2012 and following an investigation by the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, more victims were identified.

Smallman was arrested in February 2013 and denied the allegations. He was then charged in August 2013.

At the sentencing on Monday, the court heard a number of victim statements. One read: “What happened to me ruined my life and ruined any chance of a happy life. I am an angry person and hated myself and still do. I suffer from depression, had suicidial thoughts and had difficulties in my marriage.”

Passing sentence on Smallman, Judge Zoe Smith said: “You took employment as head of house at a care home for children where you had young and inexperienced staff that were you were able to dominate and who worked in fear. You structured routines in the home that allowed you to groom young people you favoured and formed punishment that enabled you to have contact with them.

“Each young boy, now adult men, had to give evidence and descriptions of what happened in the past. We had read a series of victim statements where you can see the terrible impact your behaviour had and still does on their adult life.”

Detective constable Joanne Waddington from the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, added: “This sentence marks the end of this particular trial, but certainly not the end of matters for the victims of this horrific abuse. They have to continue living with what Smallman did every day but thanks to their courage in coming forward, he now faces a long time behind bars.”