A victim of child sex abuse thanked police today after a 12-year fight for justice led to a long prison sentence for a serial offender.
Stephen Lewsey praised Sussex Police as he spelt out the effects of the abuse committed by Glenn Langrish, now known as Glenn Stephens, about 40 years ago.
Hove Crown Court was told today (Friday 2 February) that Mr Lewsey was 10 when the abuse started.
Langrish, then in his early thirties, worked at a lawnmower repair shop called Ree-Even Hire at their shops in Portland Road, Hove, and in Crawley.
He had given Mr Lewsey a Saturday job at the Crawley store where much of the abuse took place.
Mr Lewsey reported the abuse to the police in 2011 but Langrish had changed his name and moved to Sweden from where it was not possible to extradite him.
An international arrest warrant was issued and last summer, when Langrish went to Poland, he was held and returned to Britain. He was arrested again after he landed at Heathrow.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Lewsey, who was supported by his family, told the court: “You have no idea on the impact you have had on my entire life.
“Until I confided in my wife, I treated this as my ‘dirty little secret’ – something that I lived with for the last 40 years.
“But you have now been found guilty of the crimes that you know you committed. You needed to face justice.
“It has taken a long time to face you in court but, now we have had our day and the jury have seen through your lies, I can now start to rebuild my life.
“Since I initially reported your behaviour to the police, I have experienced many, many emotions including some really dark thoughts.
“But throughout the entire time, I have had the support of my amazing wife who has had to endure her husband going through this emotional, most unimaginable turmoil.
“My family has suffered and have blamed themselves for your actions but there is only one person who should accept responsibility and that is you – Glenn Langrish or Stephens or whatever you have changed your name to now to avoid any further people coming forward.
“Fortunately, the police were amazing and convinced me to carry on. I found you and passed the information to the police and they put an international arrest warrant in place.
“I just wanted answers – and still do – but I guess you are not even half the man I have become.
“Why me? I have now accepted (eventually) that I need help to deal with my history but what I do know is that I am a good dad to my fantastic kids.
“I had no idea of your previous convictions, although I suspected, and should not have been surprised. I was extremely shocked and upset.
“To think that if I had reported you all those years ago, I could have protected others from your horrific actions is something else I will have to deal with.
“The police have asked if they can do a press release and have said that I can remain anonymous but I have no shame now.
“I realise it wasn’t me. It was you that was wrong and I hope more people come forward. I now know you are in a place where you cannot harm another young person – and for that I am grateful.”
Detective Sergeant Becki Buckley said: “Glenn Langrish thought he could hide in Sweden and not have to face justice for his appalling crimes.
“He hugely underestimated the determination of Sussex Police, our partner forces and national agencies and, just as importantly, the resolve of his brave victim.
“I cannot commend Steve Lewsey enough for his courage in coming forward, supporting this investigation for such a long time and choosing to waive his anonymity to help other victims.
“This investigation should send a clear message to victims of sexual offences that we will stop at nothing to get you the justice you deserve.
“If you are a victim of sexual offences, no matter how long ago, please report it to us. You will be heard, you will be believed and we will do everything we can to help you. Report online, via 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.”
To read a report of the sentencing hearing, click here.