Joke shop owner and entertainer jailed for abuse
A FEMALE impersonator and a pensioner convicted of historic child abuse have been jailed for a total of 11 years.
Joseph Devotee, who ran a joke shop on Christmas Steps, befriended a youngster and molested him both at the shop and at his home in Ashley Down Road, Bristol Crown Court was told.
Though the lad spoke to his family and doctors, he felt unable to go to the police until early 2010 to make the allegations abuse that took place in the 1970s when he was still under 16.
Devotee, 81, now of The Pines, Greenhill, Weymouth, denied five charges of indecency with a child and two other serious sexual assaults relating to two complainants.
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Female impersonator Herbert Burrowes, 60, also known as Sapphire or Patrick Mclean, of Barclay Road in Bishopston, denied indecency with a child and a serous sexual assault on one boy.
Judge Carol Hagen directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict on one indecency charge faced by Devotee.
The jury found both men guilty of all further charges, in Burrowes' case by a majority of ten to two.
Devotee was handed seven years' prison and Burrowes received four years.
Both men were ordered to sign as sex offenders indefinitely.
Ian Dixey, prosecuting, said the older of the two boys was sexually abused by a paedophile estate agent called David Joll, now deceased, who also took pictures of the child.
In due course the other boy came to know Joll, and both boys were introduced to Devotee, the court heard.
One boy recalled how he first met Devotee at a party thrown by Joll.
Mr Dixey said: "He used to drive around in a Jaguar car and he owned a joke shop on Christmas Steps.
"(The boy) used to bunk off school in the afternoon and go to the shop.
"He used to stay overnight at Devotee's address in Ashley Down Road and he used to share a bed with him there."
Mr Dixey said the other boy also recalled going to the joke shop and Devotee's home.
Mr Dixey told the jury: "(The boy) remembers going there and using a power shower, which was a novelty for him.
"Mr Devotee filmed him as he got out."
The court heard sexual abuse followed, and the lad was also filmed and abused in a boat on the Avon at Bath.
The same complainant told how he met Burrowes through Devotee, and Burrowes attempted a serious sexual assault on him and performed another.
When arrested Devotee admitted knowing the boys but denied wrongdoing and Burrowes denied any sexual activity with one of them.