A paedophile who groomed, drugged and sexually abused a series of vulnerable boys and girls has been jailed for life.
Carson Grimes was found guilty of 36 serious sexual offences spanning over a period of 20 years.
The 65-year-old, of Dumfries Street, Luton, will serve a minimum of 22 years in prison following his sentencing at Luton Crown Court today (13 October 2021).
While most of his victims were aged between 10 and 14 at the time of their abuse, he began abusing his youngest victim when they were just five years old.
Bedfordshire Police launched one of its biggest ever child sexual exploitation (CSE) investigations in 2018 when one of his victims came forward to say he had been groomed and raped by Grimes in the early 1990s.
The force’s specialist CSE team then worked to identify and support further victims of Grimes’ abuse, building up a clear picture of his exploitation.
Detectives have now urged any sexual abuse victims to come forward to police, regardless of when the abuse happened.
A number of people have come forward to say they were also abused by Grimes following media coverage of the case at both conviction and then an episode of Channel 4 documentary 24 Hours in Police Custody, which featured the case on Monday (11 October).
Detective Superintendent Steve Ashdown said:
“Carson Grimes is one of the most dangerous, vile and prolific offenders I have seen in my policing career.
“Our investigation established a clear picture of a man who exploited boys and girls entirely for his own sexual gratification, displaying a complete absence of morals and decency.
“I am glad that the judge has imposed such a significant sentence on Grimes today, and he no longer poses a danger to the most vulnerable in our society.
“I would like to thank all the survivors who found the courage to come forward, as well as all the officers who have worked tirelessly to play their part in bringing Grimes to justice.
“We will always be on the side of victims and it is never too late to make a disclosure. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support you and bring these sorts of vile exploiters to justice.”
The Bedfordshire Police investigation established that Grimes plied his victims with a powerful sedative, which would render them unconscious before he raped them.
The court today heard that the drugging alone placed his victims at significant risk of serious harm.
Natania Loftman, one of the survivors of Grimes’ abuse, said:
“We’ve got closure now as a collective. We are a family who has come together through dark times to support each other.
“I cannot fault Bedfordshire Police. They have been there every step of the way and I have felt supported and protected.
“To any other survivors I say this: you are strong, you can come forward and speak your truth. To open that box might seem hard, and after you open the box it might still be hard. You will have good days and bad days – but just come forward and do it. You can do it.”
Nine victims had their personal impact statements read out at court today (Wednesday), telling the personal toll of the abuse that Grimes’ offending had had on them.
Many spoke of suffering from drug addiction after first being exposed to drugs by Grimes, as well as having mental health issues. Many survivors in their statements said they had attempted suicide.
Grimes deliberately targeted youngsters who he felt would not be believed by their families or the authorities if they reported the abuse.
He would invite them to what was described as a ‘horror house’ by one of the victims, where the children would initially be groomed with money, food and what was on the face of it a safe place to stay.
Once he had built up the victim’s trust, Grimes would begin offering them alcohol first of all, before offering them cannabis and then working up to Class A drugs.
The investigation into Grimes featured on 24 Hours in Police Custody on Monday and a second part will air again on Monday next week (18 October 2021), with the programme giving further insight into the investigation and giving a voice to victims.
Detective Sergeant Rachael Foy, from the force’s CSE team, said:
“Grimes preyed on young and vulnerable victims for his own twisted gratification. His god-like complex and arrogance led him to believe that he would not get caught, as he often tried to discredit victims and use their backgrounds against them.
“We can never underestimate the devastating impact of Grimes’ predatory behaviour on his young victims, who have since carried the burden of the terrible harm he inflicted on them well into adulthood.
“Victims can often carry the burden of the abuse they have suffered for years before opening up and reporting. I want to thank each and every victim for being brave and courageous in coming forward, and for supporting our investigation.
“It is never too late to make a disclosure. I know it can be so difficult to report abuse, but we are here to support you every step of the way.”
To report child sexual abuse, you can visit Bedfordshire.police.uk/report or call 101.
In an emergency, or if someone is in immediate danger, always call 999.
To report anything in relation to this case quote Operation Ceroc.
You can find more information about child sexual exploitation and the different charities and agencies in Bedfordshire that work to support victims on the Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation (BAVEX) website.