A MARTIAL arts instructor who raped a 14-year-old boy more than 20 years ago has been jailed as justice finally caught up with him.
Ernest Vernon, 73, now of Bryn Derw, Wrexham, moved in on the bullied teenager, who had started Kung Fu lessons to deal with being picked on.
You were a man he trusted. You took advantage of his trust in you, his admiration of you, and your positionJudge
The pensioner, who already has a conviction for sexually assaulting another boy at the same club, is starting a six-year jail term after admitting rape and gross indecency.
He groomed him with pornographic magazines and massages, Preston Crown Court heard, but progressed to forcing the young boy into sexual acts as he studied at the martial arts school.
Vernon also committed offences against him at his Morecambe home in the 1990s.
After the victim came forward in 2014, Vernon eventually pleaded guilty on the day of his trial.
Judge Heather Lloyd, sitting at Preston Crown Court, told him: “These parents sent their young child to your classes because he was being bullied and it was thought he should do martial arts.
“He was a naive and innocent child. He enjoyed the martial arts classes and clearly looked up to you. On an occasion, you even visited their home and had tea there.
“There came a stage when his mother noticed a change in his demeanour and undoubtedly put it down to teenage troubles.
“You were a man he trusted. You took advantage of his trust in you, his admiration of you, and your position.”
She added the fact he kept contraception at the school showed “a degree of planning.”
Prosecuting, Jeremy Groutsmith said: “The complainant was between 13 and 15 when the offences occurred and was taught by the defendant, who was then in his 50s.
“The Crown’s case he used the opportunity of the boy’s enthusiasm for martial arts.
“He used to spend a lot of his time at school arriving early for sessions and inevitably found himself with the defendant.”
Defending, Philip Tulley said there was no suggestion of violence or threats in committing the offences.
He added his client was in poor health and said: “He accepts what he did was wrong and accepts he deserves to be punished.”
Vernon will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order and barring list.