A TAUNTON man has been sentenced after admitting to indecently assaulting nine children in total over a four-year period in the early 2000s.

Darrin Roach, 57, of Station Road in Norton Fitzwarren, admitted to indecently assaulting nine children when he was living in Flitwick, in Bedfordshire, and was sentenced to a total of 16 years and four months.

An investigation was launched in 2022 when the victims, who are now in their 30s, disclosed to Bedfordshire Police that they were indecently assaulted by Roach when they were younger when they would attend his home address to drink alcohol and smoke drugs.

After Roach was arrested, officers found indecent images of children on his laptop.

Roach pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to nine counts of indecent assault, three counts of possessing indecent photographs of a child, and one count of showing indecent photographs of children.

He was sentenced at Luton Crown Court to a total of 16 years and four months.

In their victim impact statements, the victims described how the abuse has impacted their lives, with many of them having suffered stress and anxiety.

One said that he “struggles to find a place to belong”, whilst another said that he “feels awkward in large social situations” and has used alcohol to cope. A third victim described Roach as a “sick man”.

Detective Constable Nina Bradbury, from Bedfordshire Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People team, said: “I would like to praise these nine young men for having the courage to come forward and disclose everything they have experienced at the hands of this perpetrator.

“I do hope that this outcome helps them move forward with some closure regarding this chapter of their lives.

“Indecent assault is an abhorrent crime, and child victims are very often affected into their future.

“We want to stress, as this case shows, that it is never too late to report a crime, for both recent and non-recent offences.

“We are committed to bringing to justice these sickening individuals who think that it is OK to abuse a child.”

Find out more about how you can report any type of child abuse to the police, and the support that is available.