Paedo ring, including pro wrestler, jailed for sexual abuse of vulnerable boys

CourtsBy Sunday World
(Top row) Roy Norry, Gary Cooke (also known as Mark Grainger), (middle) George Phoenix, (bottom) David Lightfoot and Eddie Huxley who have all been jailed for abusing young boys
(Top row) Roy Norry, Gary Cooke (also known as Mark Grainger), (middle) George Phoenix, (bottom) David Lightfoot and Eddie Huxley who have all been jailed for abusing young boys

A former professional wrestler who was at the centre of a predatory paedophile ring that abused vulnerable young boys at sex parties has been jailed for 14 years.

The five victims aged between 10 and 15 were abused by Gary Cooke, 64, and four others who operated in the Wrexham area in the 1970s and 1980s.

The defendants were jailed today at Mold Crown Court in the UK following an ongoing investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) - codenamed Operation Pallial - into historical child sexual exploitation and abuse in the care system.

Prosecutors said the majority of the abuse took place when the "troubled" victims would congregate at Cooke's then-home near Wrexham, where they were plied with drink and given treats.

Cooke, from Leicester, also known as Mark Grainger, had been convicted in July of 16 counts of abuse.

David Lightfoot, 72, a publican in Wrexham in the 1980s, now from Cheshire, was jailed for 10 years after he was found guilty of nine offences including six of indecent assault and three serious sexual assaults.

Eddie Huxley, 70, a former Wrexham civil servant from Berkshire, was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Former local radio presenter Marc Norry, 55, from Flintshire, was imprisoned for 11 years after he was convicted of six offences - five of indecent assault and one serious sexual assault.

George Phoenix, 63, a former bus driver from Wrexham, was found guilty of one count of sexual abuse and was jailed for three-and-half years.

Following sentencing, NCA senior investigating officer Ian Mulcahey said: "The five boys were young, vulnerable, sometimes isolated by family circumstances and manipulated by this group. They were no doubt chosen for these reasons and were groomed using a variety of treats including alcohol, car trips, pornography and, above all, attention.

"They were sexually abused and passed around by the group.

"The range of occupations of these men could not have been more different but their real common interest lay in the abuse of young children.

"The victims in this case have been brave in coming forward, firstly to speak to the Operation Pallial team and latterly to give evidence at court, and I would like to personally thank them for the courage they have shown."

Ed Beltrami, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wales, added: "Their fortitude in coming forward to report what happened to them has led to these convictions.

"While the criminal justice process cannot put right the wrongs committed by these individuals, we hope that the victims will take some solace in knowing that their abusers have been brought to justice."