A man who sexually assaulted young boys in a Shirley Oaks children’s home in South Norwood in the 1970s has been jailed for eight years for crimes described as “the ultimate abuse of position.”

Patrick Grant, 69, was convicted of eight counts of indecent assault at Inner London Crown Court yesterday.

His offending took place in England and Wales over the course of more than a decade, and included two counts of indecent assault at Shirley Oaks Children’s Home, Rowan House, between 1977 and 1978.

He was also convicted of three counts of indecent assault at Walker House in Cardiff, South Wales in the 1980s, and three counts of indecent assault at Fircroft Children’s Home in Surbiton between 1976 and 1977.

He had been working at these residential homes at the time of the offences and was often called the ‘house father’.

His victims were able to identify him by his distinctive appearance, interest in playing the piano and by name.

Raymond Stevenson, of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (Sosa), said the jailing was “belated justice” and believed there was a wider paedophile ring across Shirley Oaks’ children homes.

The group represents 700 people who say they were abused at the home run by Lambeth Council in south London between the 1950s and 1980s.

Following a two-year investigation, Sosa claims to have identified dozens of alleged paedophiles.

“I think the story of Patrick Grant has just started,” he said.

“The fact that complaints were made many, many years ago and also the complaints were made at Shirley Oaks, it’s a bit late to celebrate his conviction.

“There is a group of men connected with him and police haven’t managed to put together the wider puzzle of abuse that took place.

“For the victims who have waited all this time for justice, it’s a belated justice. It is not the full justice they deserve.

“There is still a lot of work to do,” he added.

Co-defendant Philip Collins, 73, was convicted of five counts of indecent assault on one victim with the offences taking place at Fircroft and will be sentenced on April 23 at Inner London Crown Court.

At the time he had been working as the head of the centre and had been a part-time special police constable based at Esher police station.

The trial of the men took place at Inner London Crown Court and ended in February.

Patricia Strobino, from the CPS said: “This has been a long and difficult trial for all those involved – particularly the victims who had been accused of making the abuse up all this time. They showed immense resolve and courage by coming to court to give evidence and standing up to their abusers.

“These crimes have had a long-term negative impact on the lives of the victims. They were let down by those in authority and by those they should have been able to trust. I hope this outcome offers a degree of closure, enabling them each to begin the process of rebuilding their lives.

“Grant and Collins committed the ultimate abuse of position. They were supposed to provide care for some of the most vulnerable children, including those with special needs and others who had no family support. Instead of keeping them safe in these children’s homes, Grant and Collins together, and individually, systematically targeted and groomed children causing them significant harm,” she said.

Lambeth Council is compensating survivors of abuse suffered at the borough’s childrens’ homes up to £125,000.

The scheme also includes a ‘harm’s way’ payment which sees anyone who lived in the network of homes receiving a stepped payment of up to £10,000.