A former porter at a children’s hospital who “ruthlessly exploited” his victims has been handed a life sentence after admitting a string of sexual offences against young boys during a 35-year campaign of abuse.
Paul Farrell, 55, worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in central London between 1994 and 2020 and admitted 69 offences against eight victims.
The crimes were described as “multi-incident” by the prosecution and amount to at least 500 instances of abuse, although prosecutors said the true figure is “likely to be in the thousands”.
Farrell used an area of the hospital for abuse but did not target patients – he befriended the parents of his victims and then acted as a babysitter in order to abuse their children at addresses across the capital.
Judge Noel Lucas QC handed Farrell a life sentence at Wood Green Crown Court, telling him he must serve at least 18 years.
The judge told Farrell “it is difficult to fully comprehend the fear, confusion and vulnerabilities your young victims must have suffered”.
Paul Douglass, prosecuting, earlier told the court Farrell had “ruthlessly exploited the vulnerabilities of his victims”.
The court heard that Farrell had kept a diary of threats and bribes for one of his victims, who was aged 12 when the abuse began, and even hid a camera in the boy’s room as a way of manipulating him not to tell anyone about the attacks.
The defendant had targeted a set of brothers – one of whom was as young as five when the abuse began – with neither sibling knowing what was happening to the other at the time.
In a statement read to the court by Mr Douglass, the younger brother said: “I now feel hopeless, lost and disgusted at my silence that has allowed you to ruin the lives of so many innocent children.
“Innocent children like me and my brother will be profoundly scarred by your actions for the rest of our lives.”
Farrell, of Castle Road in Camden, north London, pleaded guilty to a series of charges relating to eight complainants, none of whom can be identified for legal reasons, now aged between nine and 43.
The offences, carried out between 1985 and 2020, include attempted rape, sexual assault of a child under 13, and making indecent photographs of children.
A spokeswoman for GOSH said Farrell’s “actions are in direct contrast to everything we stand for as a children’s hospital”.
“We would like to reiterate what has been said in court; that Paul Farrell did not target children at GOSH,” she added.
Anyone who has concerns about this case is asked to call a dedicated helpline GOSH has set up with the NSPCC on 0800 101 996.