Seven members of the same family from Coventry are in court for child abuse charges spanning a shocking thirty year period. The Potts family are said to have launched a three decades long campaign of rape, sexual assault and child abuse and four members were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday. Serial rapist Antony Potts had been previously found guilty of 13 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and nine counts of inciting a child to perform a sexual act and cruelty – all against children. He was jailed for life at Birmingham Crown Court and told he must serve a minimum of 16 years. He will remain on licence for the rest of his life and was described by the presiding judge, Judge Carr, as: "A deeply depraved man who has taken many, many opportunities to abuse children and corrupt them. These are horrendous offences. In 50 years practice and presiding over cases like this, I cannot think of a worse one."
His father, Keith Potts, was also jailed after being found guilty of two counts of child cruelty, his sentence was just eight years and his wife Julie was handed a seven year sentence. Elaine Potts, Antony’s wife, was sentenced to four years in prison for her part in the crimes and close family friend Joanna Hoye, 42, is due to serve a four year sentence, both for neglect. Their victims had first come forward back in 1989 but it wasn't until January 2016, after a fifth victim gave a compelling testimony and forced the case to be reopened, that three further cases were identified. Joshua Potts and Nathan Potts, the children of Keith and Julie, are understood to have continued the family's reign of terror and taken over their campaign of child abuse. The pair, aged 26, are due to be sentenced today after admitting multiple counts of rape and sexual assault with other adults and children.
The leading investigator described the Potts’ offences as ‘one of the worst cases of systematic and horrifying child sex abuse’ they had ever seen. In a victim impact statement read to the court by prosecutor Simon Spence, one victim said the abuse of Antony Potts and others had a ‘major impact’ on her life and she was ‘groomed and brainwashed’ by her abusers, with her issues compounded when she was treated poorly by officials. She felt ‘let down as a child’ by the police, CPS and social services when she originally reported the abuse she had suffered at their hands. The unnamed woman has since suffered from ‘constant and daily panic attacks’, has post-traumatic stress disorder and ‘reduced self-worth’ but feels happiness that no other children will suffer at the family's hands, despite admitting that she will never get over her own experiences.