Five-year investigation secures justice for non-recent child abuse victims in Scarborough
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A man who admitted sexually abusing two boys in Scarborough in the 1970s and 80s has died in prison.
Anthony Dhiren Pulami - known at the time as Tony Earnshaw - was due to be sentenced today (Monday 30 May 2022) at York Crown Court.
The 76-year-old, who has been living in Nepal and India, pleaded guilty to four offences at a hearing in January.
These included two counts of indecent assault on one of the boys between 1976 and 1978, and an unconnected series of offences against the other boy between 1979 and 1985 involving buggery and indecent assault.
However, he died of ill health on 28 April while on remand in Hull Prison.
The hearing went ahead at York Crown Court when the case was formally concluded.
Background to the investigation
Pulami had used his involvement with motorcycles to gain the trust of the boys.
‘Tony’, as he was known to them, gave them gifts and took them on days out as part of this grooming process, before sexually abusing them.
Both boys kept the trauma of their abuse secret through to adulthood.
It wasn’t until the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 that they separately reported their experiences to North Yorkshire Police.
The cases were taken on by Detective Constable Catherine Peet, of Scarborough and Ryedale CID, which was the start of what became a five-year inquiry to bring Pulami to justice.
DC Peet said: “At the time when the victims made their reports to the police, the suspect was living abroad in Nepal and then moved to India.
“Over these years, this case has required ongoing work with our Force Intelligence Bureau, the National Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service’s Extradition Unit to progress the return of the offender.
“Following enquiries by the Indian authorities, Pulami was arrested in connection with these offences when he came back to the UK in September 2021.”
DC Peet added: “Neither of the victims had been able to share their traumatic experiences until the start of the police investigation many years later.
“Pulami’s crimes have deeply affected them throughout their life.
“Despite the death of Pulami in prison before he was sentenced, I really hope the outcome of the investigation gives them strength and hope for the future.
“It is also a reminder that it is never too late to make a report about child abuse and to receive the professional support and care that is readily available to victims.”
Victim personal statements
The victim who was abused between 1976 and 1978 said:
“As a young child to have my first sexual experience with a man has had an overwhelming, traumatic and depressing scar on my future life.
“My sister once asked while taking a photo: ‘Why don’t you smile?’. This was a few months after, I was dying to tell her but couldn’t.
“To have trust taken away from a child as I had, has affected me all of my life, to be scared of what might happen next. Could I ever tell anyone? Would they believe me?
“I have thought about suicide when I felt really down but managed in my own way to get by.
“I have struggled with relationships, ending them before a girl got too close.
“This has been so hard to open up, suddenly many people knowing the truth has been very difficult.
“44 years of bad thoughts in your head takes its toll day in day out, you don’t forget.
“I do have a loving wife and children who support me.”
These are the words of the victim who was abused between 1979 and 1985…
“The defendant’s actions have had a profound and lifelong effect on me and, to a lesser (and different) extent, my family.
“I am hoping that with today’s sentencing, I will be able to move on from the ‘dirty little secret’ that I’ve been carrying for so many decades and try to reclaim some of my life.
“I’ll never be able to forget what has happened. I can only try to cope with its effects.
“I’ve lived with it for 38 years – I don’t want to think I’ve got to live with things for another 38 years without there being some improvement.
“No matter what I do, it is always with me; it’s just a question of how good I am at putting things to the back of my mind.
“I don’t want to feel I am always looking over my shoulder or being the brunt of gossip and whispers about what people think they have heard – I’d rather they asked me direct, but that said it’s not something which I want to discuss publicly.
“I want my life back.”
Seeking further support, advice and ways of reporting child abuse
Please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. If you are in immediate danger, always dial 999 for an emergency response
Victims who would prefer not to go direct to the police and are not in immediate danger, can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), on 0330 223 0362, email [email protected] or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org/
You can also contact Supporting Victims direct at supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100
NSPCC Helplines: * Help for adults concerned about a child – call 0808 800 5000 * Help for children and young people – call Childline on 0800 1111 * Go to www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse