Sex abuse letting agents on the run

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A 50-year-old man has been found guilty of sexually abusing two teenage boys and a man.

Alfred John Palmer, a letting agent in Plymouth, was convicted in his absence after absconding.

Palmer, formerly of Alcester Street, Stoke, was owner of landlord and letting agency Palmer Co.

The court heard that he abused his position, performing “intrusive interviews” which included taking photos of his victims.

In one case he persuaded a 25-year-old male prospective tenant to strip to his underwear so that Palmer could check for signs of drug abuse. He then performed a sex act on him.

Daniel Tapper, 51, Palmer’s partner and business associate, formerly of Alcester Street and a director of the letting agency, also absconded.

He was found guilty in his absence of the indecent assault of one of the youths.

The Evening Herald reports a jury unanimously found Palmer guilty of five counts of indecent assault at Plymouth Crown Court.

They found Tapper guilty by a 10-2 verdict.

The pair had been present when they went on trial in May last year, but that trial collapsed, though Judge Francis Gilbert QC told the jury this was “no fault of either defendant.”

The Evening Herald reports of that trial meant a new complainant came forward and at a hearing in November last year both Tapper and Palmer failed to appear in court.

Neither have contacted their solicitors or the court since then. They are thought to have fled to Turkey.

Palmer and Tapper’s crimes were committed in the early 1990s and the court heard testimony from two men who were abused as teenagers.

One told the court that he had lost years of his life and suffers from nightmares.

“This has had a massive effect on my life and I started self-harming,” the other youth told the court, according to the Evening Herald.

“After the first abuse by Palmer, I started cutting my wrists with a steak knife. I have no self-confidence and suffer from anxiety.”

The judge issued a warrant for their arrest and sentenced Palmer to five years in jail while Tapper was sentenced to three years.