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Owner of child sex ring B&B blames layout of guest house for crimes
A GUEST house owner says a child sex ring exploited the layout of his Oxford hotel to abuse young girls in the bedrooms.
Nanford Guest House manager John Cronin said he is now going to look at making structural changes to ensure the sickening crimes never happen again.
The 48-year-old, his brother Bart, 49, and dad Jeremiah, 81, were released without charge last week after being arrested on suspicion of child prostitution offences.
An 18-week Old Bailey trial earlier this year heard the Iffley Road budget bed-and-breakfast – which is made up of six separate buildings – was used by a gang that groomed, drugged, and raped girls as young as 11.
The Cronins were arrested in a dawn raid in June following the trial and held on police bail until Thursday, September 20.
John Cronin, who has always denied any knowledge the gang used the guest house, has now delivered a statement to neighbours of the Nanford and his home in Sunningwell.
In it, he said: “The police have carried out an extensive inquiry over many months and are satisfied that there is no case to answer and we have been completely absolved of any involvement.
“I fully support the need for a rigorous investigation in order to bring any further people involved to justice.”
He also said he had seen the effects of child exploitation when working as a tourist expedition leader in African countries like Democratic of Congo, Uganda, and Niger in the 1980s.
He said: “Thankfully in the UK we have a robust justice system and it has spoken in no uncertain terms as to how it intends to deal with perpetrators of these types of crimes.
“The men already sentenced have clearly taken advantage of the layout of the premises and I will be looking for ways to stop anything similar ever happening again.”
When asked what could be done, Mr Cronin said he would have to speak to his architect but declined to comment further.
The manager’s pledge comes after the Children’s Society launched its Say Something If You See Something campaign earlier this month to make more hotel staff aware of the signs of child sex exploitation.
Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Rhianne Pope said hotel staff would soon be trained by the force to spot the signs.
She said: “We are in the process of training our neighbourhood teams to deliver training to hotels in Oxfordshire and the whole of the Thames Valley about child sex exploitation and what signs to look for.”
The Cronins were arrested on suspicion of being a landlord letting premises for use as a brothel, causing or inciting child prostitution for gain, and encouraging or assisting in an offence believing it will be committed, namely rape and causing child prostitution.