Joseph Hewitt was in charge of Woodlands care home in Norwich in the 1970’ and 1980s, where the victims are alleging abuse took place. The home was where the children were sent in preparation for foster care.

Hewitt who is now 79 years old was convicted in October 1995 of sexual assault and rape for six children from the home. Hewitt now faces fresh allegations of abuse from five further victims who allege that they were abused by Hewitt between 1979 and 1983.

One of the victims who is now 52 has told the Court about his horrific ordeal. The victim told the Court that he was sexually and physically abused at Woodlands and learnt sex. He described it as hell. The victim was the youngest there.

“I had never been away from my parents. I used to suck my thumb and everything. My first sexual encounter was at Woodlands. Hewitt was the main one. It happened at least once a week. That is where I learned sex, and I have been sexually active since being in the children’s home. I just took it that that was how it was.

“I did not tell my parents. What went on just went on. Everyone was doing it – it just seemed like a normal thing. It didn’t feel like I was being abused. Everyone knew what was happening. I thought that’s just what children’s homes were.”

The victim told the Court how he remembered one of the girls at the home used to wake up with a staff member in her bed on a regular basis.

Hewitt has been convicted of denied two counts of rape, three of a serious sexual offence, two of indecent assault and two of gross indecency. Hewitt has denied all the charges against him. In his police interviews in 2013 and 2015, Hewitt said he “could not recall ever staying overnight with a child” because he had other duties at the home and could not recall any of the victims except one.

The trial is expected to last five weeks.


If you have been a victim of abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted on 0800 9555 094.

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