Businessman Stephen Read found guilty of five sexual offences against boys
BUSINESSMAN Stephen Read, 58, is facing jail after being convicted today of sex offences against four boys.
The founder and former managing director of multi-million pound Enviro Technology Services was found guilty of five charges after a nine day trial at Gloucester Crown Court.
Two of the guilty verdicts were on charges of indecent or sexual assault and the other three were of causing the boys to view pornography.
After a retirement of almost 10 hours, the jury cleared him of 10 other alleged offences against the same boys.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC bailed Read, of Bussage, until August 29.
The judge said he would grant Read bail as long as he lives outside the county pending sentence.
This would allow him time to put affairs in order and ensure his business could run 'in his absence,' said the judge.
He added that it was also important Read was away from his home area because of 'bad feeling' there.
"I am well aware that this case has caused a great deal of bad feeling not only in the family but in the surrounding area and for his own sake I don't particularly want him to go home because he has enough problems on his plate as it is," the judge told defence barrister Jane Rowley.
"He knows what the almost inevitable outcome of the jury's verdict is."
The charges related to incidents between 1997 and May last year when the boys were visiting his home or going on swimming, shooting and boating trips with him.
Prosecutor Anne Vigars told the jury of seven men and five women at the start of the trial that Read 'has over the last 15 years or so taken advantage of young boys under the disguise of being a kind and generous man'.
She said the offences came to light when a woman driving four 12-year-old boys in her car heard two of them talking about Mr Read being a 'paedo'.
She asked the boys to speak to their parents about what they were saying and in due course their allegations against Read came to light.
Following local rumour in the area the other two victims also came forward.
Read denied two charges of indecently assaulting a boy between July 1997 and June 1999. He was convicted of one by an 11-1 majority but cleared of the other.
He also denied five charges of sexual assault of a second 12 year old boy between January and May 2012 and one of causing the same boy to view video of people engaged in sexual activity.
The jury found him guilty of two of those charges by majorities of 10-1 and 11-1 but not guilty of the other four allegations.
The third set of charges alleged four sexual assaults on another boy under-13 between April 2010 and April 2012 and one of causing that child to view similar pornography. The jury convicted him only of the pornography charge by an 11-1 majority.
The final two charges were of causing or inciting a fourth boy to engage in sexual activity and causing him to view pornography. He was convicted by an 11-1 majority of the pornography charge but cleared of incitement.
Judge Tabor said he would not pass sentence straight away because he wanted to consider the full implications of the jury's verdicts.
"These are interesting and thoughtful verdicts by the jury and they will need some analysis I think," he said.
Read had denied all the charges and maintained he never did or said anything indecent to the boys.
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