‘Surrogate father’ found guilty of raping boy, 14, in Dagenham

Stephen Webb, 57, of Weston Green, Dagenham, was today found guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court (Tues

Stephen Webb, 57, of Weston Green, Dagenham, was today found guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court (Tuesday) of one count of rape of a child under 16 and four counts of indecent sexual assault. Picture: Met Police. - Credit: Archant

A “surrogate father” who raped and sexually abused a teenage boy has been convicted.

Stephen Webb, 57, was today found guilty of raping a child under the age of 16 and of four counts of indecent sexual assault.

A jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how Webb groomed the victim and routinely sexually assaulted the 14-year-old at his home in Weston Green, Dagenham.

Webb told the victim, who had recently come out as gay, that he would look after him after meeting him and a 16-year-old friend through an internet chatroom.

The victim initially stayed on his sofa on a number of occasions in 1999 and 2000.

But Webb soon started telling the victim to sit on his lap, where he kissed and sexually assaulted him, despite the victim trying to pull away. He would also get the victim to watch pornography with him, including home-made videos involving children that were filmed in his house.

One evening, Webb told the victim to sleep in his bedroom upstairs. The victim did not want to upset Webb, who he saw as his “knight in shining armour”, so he agreed. From that point on the victim slept in Webb’s bed, where he was sexually assaulted.

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The court heard how on one occasion, Webb pinned the victim down and raped him. He confided in a friend staying in the spare room but was too traumatised to report the abuse until fourteen years later in August 2014.

Webb was arrested in September 2014 and charged on December 7, 2016.

Investigating officer Det Con Charlotte Carter said: “The victim saw Webb as a surrogate father figure and someone he could confide in about being gay.

“Webb abused this position of trust to exploit a vulnerable teenager for his own satisfaction. Webb has failed to show any remorse for his despicable actions throughout.

“I would like to pay tribute to the victim who had the courage to report this distressing crime to police, and attend court to give evidence against Webb. I hope that today’s conviction gives the victim a measure of comfort and closure.”

Webb was acquitted of a further count of rape of a child under 16. He had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of making an indecent video of a child. He will be sentenced for all offences at the same court at a later date.