Stoke Newington child abuse trial: Man tells court how attacks by ‘lunatic’ left him with mental illness

A file image of Snaresbrook Crown Court, where the Stannards are on trial for child abuse. Picture:

A file image of Snaresbrook Crown Court, where the Stannards are on trial for child abuse. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Archive - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

A man told a court today how physical and mental abuse he suffered at the hands of a married couple had scarred him for life.

Valerie Stannard, 73, and her husband Roy, 74, have between them been charged with 22 counts of child cruelty and indecent assault.

The allegations date from the 1960s through to the 1980s, when the couple lived in Stoke Newington. They relate to five people who were all under 16 at the time, and who prosecutor Sally Hales said endured “miserable childhoods” as a result of the “physical abuse” and “cruelty”.

Appearing via a video link at Snaresbrook Crown Court today, one of the victims, now in his late 50s, described how Valerie hit him with “the nearest thing” available to her.

“She’d get me on the floor and punch into me,” he told the court. “The back of my legs [were] all marked with strap marks and cane marks.

“I had soap in my mouth because I swore. It got jammed in my throat. I thought I was going to die.”

Ms Hales asked him why Valerie had abused him, and he replied: “She’s just a lunatic.”

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The victim also described how on one occasion Valerie had shoved newspaper down his trousers and lit it.

“She told me ‘don’t move’ and that I’d have to take the pain,” he continued. “Then she put cream on my stomach to get rid of the burns.

“It was painful but there was nothing I could do. I bit my tongue to get rid of the pain.”

When asked by Ms Hales how else he was hurt by Valerie, he added: “She gave me a mental illness: that’s what she gave me.”

He told the court how Roy had beaten him up and punched him regularly. He described one occasion: “I landed on the floor and he carried on beating me,” he said. “He’d punch me anywhere – the head, the back, the stomach.

“It lasted five or six minutes. He was bigger and stronger than me. I had bruises on my back and my face. We were too frightened to tell anybody.”

Recalling another attack, he continued: “He hung me on the door with a coat hanger and when I was choking he got me back down. I could hardly breathe.”

When Ms Hales asked him why Roy had done it, he replied. “He’s mental.”

Valerie Stannard is charged with 10 counts of cruelty to a person under 16. Roy Stannard is charged with three counts of cruelty to a person under 16, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child.

The elderly defendants, who now live in Barge Lane, Bow, both deny all of the accusations.

The trial continues.