Magician jailed for abusing youngsters

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A magician from Daventry who abused children for more than 20 years - some whilst working at a seaside resort - has been jailed for six years.

Ivan Russell, 42, was given an extended period of four years on licence and will be on the sex offenders register for life.

Northampton Crown Court heard on Friday Russell worked at the holiday camps in Great Yarmouth. He abused five children, four boys and one girl between the ages of eight and 15, at the holiday camp, in Lancashire as well as his home address.

He targeted vulnerable families, befriending them and offering his house for their children to stay in. He told one mother, who had alcohol problems, her child could stay with him.

Some of the youngsters were “in awe” of Russell, who used his magic skills to befriend and entertain them.

However, he exploited the youngsters, persuading them to perform sex acts on him and even plying one with alcohol before abusing him. The abuse dated back to 1994, but only came to light in 2010.

In February, Russell was convicted of 12 counts of indecent assaults, one charge of indecency with a child and four charges of sexual assault on a child, a trial in which he apparently feigned illness numerous times. He was not present in court for sentencing – even though he had been taken from HMP Woodhill to the court for the case – because he was unwell.

Judge Rupert Mayo criticised the magician saying: “He is one of the most selfish individuals I have ever come across. My firm conclusion is that he poses an immediate and continuing danger to children.”

One victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, simply said: “It is all over and done with, he is where he belongs.”

Dc Lisa Miller said the case had been “very difficult” for all the victims and said she feared Russell may have abused other children in the area.