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School matron imprisoned for sexually abusing 12-year-old boy in the 1980s

Susan Bramwell

A woman who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy while she worked as a school matron has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Susan Mary Bramwell, aged 58, from Endmoor, Cumbria, committed the offences at a school in Ripon, North Yorkshire, between 1982 and 1983.

She was sentenced at York Crown Court today (15 November 2019) after previously pleading guilty to two counts of gross indecency and two counts of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 14.

Bramwell was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The victim was subjected to the abuse for a period of around six months when Bramwell – who was known by her maiden name Ackernley at the time – groomed the youngster to go into her room at night.

It was not until 2000 that the victim told his wife about this disturbing experience at school. He had only ever previously confided what had happened to a small number of close friends and family members.

The victim contacted North Yorkshire Police in February 2018 to initially report the matter after he had read a news report about a similar case.

He then decided to make a formal complaint a year later which instigated a detailed inquiry by North Yorkshire Police’s Non-Recent Abuse Investigation Team led by Detective Constable Ali Morris.

Bramwell was arrested at her home address in Cumbria on 24 April 2019 and she was subsequently charged.

She appeared at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court on 22 August and the case was transferred to York Crown Court.

Following the sentencing, DC Morris said: “I have nothing but praise and respect for the victim in this case as he bravely sought justice for the terrible experiences he was forced into 37 years ago by Susan Bramwell – or Susan Ackernley as she was known at the time.

“She not only abused her position of trust as a school matron, she systematically groomed a vulnerable young child for her own sexual gratification which resulted in self-harm at the time and a lifetime of emotional turmoil for the victim.

“Bramwell is now facing up to the consequences of her sickening actions and this case demonstrates once again that it is never too late to report child abuse and secure justice.

“North Yorkshire Police’s Non-Recent Abuse Investigation Team is equipped to provide the essential care and support to victims no matter when they were subjected to the abuse. Even if victims do not want to make a formal complaint, we can still ensure that you receive the independent and sensitive help that is readily available.

“We are here to help you. You do not have to deal with such personal devastation alone.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Bramwell exploited her role to inflict appalling abuse on a young boy in an environment where he should have felt safe from harm.

“An enormous amount of trust was placed in her to ensure the wellbeing and safety of children, yet she breached that trust time and again for her own sick gratification.

“Even when decades have passed, this case is proof that victims of child sexual abuse will be listened to whenever they speak out, and we hope this survivor is receiving all appropriate support.”

Children and young people with any worries can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk

Childline provides a safe, confidential place for children with no one else to turn to, whatever their worry, whenever they need help. Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If anyone has any worries about a child or is concerned about possible child abuse, either ongoing or in the past, they can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected] for help and support.

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