A “predator” school truant officer who sexually abused two boys nearly 20 years ago has finally faced justice.

Stephen Newmarch, now 57, had worked for various schools over the course of his career, putting himself in a position of trust and even posing as a “father figure” to the boys.

Manchester Crown Court heard how he was “unmarried and living alone” when he abused the boys from 2004 to 2006.

Prosecutor Hannah Forsyth said: “The defendant worked at a number of schools as a truant officer, whose role it was to speak to children who were misbehaving or missing school.”

Dressed in a plain grey top and grey trousers Newmarch, of Broomfield Close, Ainsworth, listened silently from the dock as Ms Forsyth told the court how the abuse unfolded.

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Manchester Crown CourtThe case was heard at Manchester Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

She said that after abusing the first boy, Newmarch told him reporting him to the police would “get him into trouble.”

But in 2020 the boy, by then a grown man, called the police and told them of the abuse he had suffered all those years ago.

He also told them of another boy who Newmarch had preyed upon and the subsequent police investigation uncovered a horrific catalogue of abuse.

On approaching the second boy, also now a grown man, and telling him they were investigating historic abuses, the victim brought up Newmarch’s name unprompted.

Ms Forsyth told the court how after a particular incident of abuse, Newmarch abused his status to discourage his young victim from going to the police.

She said: “Afterwards, the defendant said ‘I can’t believe I have just done that.’”

Ms Forsyth said that Newmarch told the victim that if he told anyone he would get him “in a lot of trouble.”

She said that abuse at Newmarch’s hands was “an almost daily occurrence” for the boy.

After his arrested in 2020 Newmarch, who has no previous convictions, denied his crimes first to the police and then before the courts.

But after a trial and retrial over the last two years, he was eventually found guilty of 12 counts of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13.

He was also convicted of two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of sexual assault on a child.

The court listened on as Ms Forsyth read out statements from Newmarch’s victims laying bare the devastating impact his crimes had wrought on their lives.

A statement from the first victim said: “I cannot sleep because I am thinking all the time about my past and the abuse I suffered from Stephen.”

The second victim’s statement said: “I feel I have been preyed on by this man, I was preyed on when I was just a boy and when I was in one of the most vulnerable positions in my life.”

Charlotte Rimmer, defending, accepted that “as far as defence mitigation is concerned, there is none” because Newmarch continued to deny his crimes.

She pointed out that Newmarch had previously been “of good character” and that this would be his first experience of prison.

Ms Rimmer said: “I don’t exaggerate when I say he’s found it very difficult, indeed what else would you expect of a 57-year-old of previous good character?”

Judge Peter Horgan accepted that Newmarch clearly had “another side” to his character and that his crimes went all the way back to 2006.

He said: “But I must balance that argument against the fact that they only came to light because of the bravery of your victims and not as a result of any admissions on your part.”

Judge Horgan said that Newmarch had abused his position as a “father figure” and noted the emotive statements of his victims.

Of one of them, he said: “He describes himself as a broken child, let into the hands of a predator.”

Judge Horgan jailed Newmarch for 13 years and ordered that he be subject to a notification order and sexual harm prevention order for life.

He also made the defendant subject to a restraining order against his two victims and another man for five years.

ALSO READ: 'Things only getting worse' as hundreds of criminal cases delayed

ALSO READ: 'Our system is crumbling' as 'vast cuts' see nearly half of Bolton trials delayed

ALSO READ: 'Justice at breaking point' with 100s of criminal cases delayed

After the hearing police officers paid tribute to the courage of Newmarch's victims.

Detective Sergeant Ellie Sproat of Bolton CID said: “We are truly grateful to the victims in this case, who, through their bravery, have seen a prolific child sex offender, who used his positions of power to commit his crimes, taken off the streets of Greater Manchester.

“We understand that they have been through a shared, horrific experience and whilst today’s result doesn’t take away that experience, we hope that this goes some way to allowing them to heal and come to terms with what has happened to them.

“We are interested in hearing from anyone who believes they have been a victim of child sexual abuse by Newmarch and we are asking them to contact GMP.

This can be done by calling 101 or using the Live Chat function on our website, www.gmp.police.uk.

"You will be believed, and we will investigate thoroughly every claim."