Marshall to appeal against his sentence

By Siobhan Fletcher   |   Reporter   |
Friday 10th June 2022 2:25 pm
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A man who sexually abused young boys at Knottfield children’s home is appealing for a shorter sentence.

Joseph Marshall, who is now 85, was found guilty after a five-day jury trial in December 2021 of three counts of indecent assault and two other sexual offences.

The case was then adjourned by Deemster Bernard Richmond QC for medical reports to ‘consider the quality of life he’ll have where he is sent’.

He was subsequently jailed for six years in April.

He was handed the sentence for sexually abusing two young boys at the home on Woodbourne Road between 1974 and 1982.

But he has now launched an appeal against his sentence.

A directions hearing will take place on June 16 for around 30 minutes to begin this process.

Marshall was a senior member of staff at the home.

He denied nine counts of abuse against three boys, and was found guilty for five of those counts.

The jury’s decisions at the close of the December trial were unanimous.

Inspector Neil Craig, one of the senior investigating officers involved in the inquiry, said: ‘Mr Marshall both used, and abused, his position of trust as the housemaster within the Knottfield care home over many years in order to be able to commit these offences.

‘His behaviour was deplorable, and showed a complete and utter disregard for the victims whom he has been convicted of having offended against.

‘He likely believed that the passage of time would allow his offending to remain undetected, however as a result of this investigation he is now having to face the consequences of his actions.’

After Mr Marshall’s sentencing, we spoke to Kerry Sharpe MLC, whose work on a book about the history of the Children’s Centre helped uncover the horrific abuse which took place at the home.

We asked Mrs Sharpe her take on the sentence.

She said: ‘Yes, he has received a sentence, so to a certain extent, some justice has been done. However I have no doubt that the crimes that he has been sentenced for are only the tip of the iceberg, that’s the sad thing.

‘There must have been a prolific number of people who were abused by him, and we’re never going to know who these people are, and that’s really frustrating.

‘The Deemster said there’s a possibility that he may come to the end of his days in prison, which is what he deserves.’

Mrs Sharpe also said that Marshall had appeared completely unrepentant, which is perhaps reflected by this new appeal.

She said during our interview last month: ‘I interviewed him for two hours and he showed no understanding of what he’d done whatsoever.

‘When I spoke to him, certain people had told me that he had abused them, and I asked him if he had abused those people, and from his point of view, he did not have any understanding that his actions counted as abuse.

‘In his mind, he was being “friendly” with certain children, and he just showed no understanding or remorse for his actions, at all.’

Mrs Sharpe is still planning on finishing her book, but it will now focus on many of the allegations made by former residents of the home.

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