The mum of a six-year-old boy who was sexually abused by a Wigan man has branded him a “monster”.
Martin Kelman was a friend of the young victim’s family and would stay over at their house.
It was an act of complete betrayal. He was a friend of the family and he attacked our son at both our house and my mother’s houseVictim’s mum
But, a jury heard, the now 34-year-old took advantage of their hospitality to subject the son to vile sexual ordeals behind their backs.
The mum today expressed concern that Kelman, who had latterly been living in Polefield in the Fulwood area of Preston, had been working at the Oxygen Free Jumping trampoline park at Wigan’s Robin Park - which is popular with children - as recently as December.
The crimes took place before Kelman worked at the Stadium Way premises. Bosses say news of the case came as a complete shock to them this week, the former employee having not informed them that he was under investigation when he was given a job there last May.
“Having submitted a Disclosure and Barring Service application when Kelman joined the company, Oxygen says it was advised there was no need to run a DBS check because staff are not providing care or regulated activity to either children or vulnerable adults in the way that would make them eligible for such checks. And it says staff are never left alone with children. Nor were any complaints made against Kelman in the seven months he worked there.
Kelman denied two charges when he stood trial at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court: one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and another of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13, both in June 2014.
But a jury took four hours to find him guilty on both counts after a harrowing video interview with the boy recounting his abuse was played to the court.
As well as the eight years he received, Kelman must also sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
The mother said: “It was an act of complete betrayal. He was a friend of the family and he attacked our son at both our house and my mother’s house.
“He went to work with my husband and used to stay over and it was then that he took advantage.
“Our son did not tell anything about what happened until a year afterwards. It just came out one day in conversation. I was horrified and immediately contacted the police.
“They arrested Kelman and he pleaded not guilty which made things worse and dragged everything out a lot longer. Our son was video interviewed but we were not allowed to be in court when it was played to the jury so, to this day, we cannot be sure of every detail.
“We weren’t allowed to speak to him afterwards and of course now we don’t want to drag it all up again for him now by quizzing him further.
“He is not great, but he’s OK. Only time will tell how it affects him in the longer term. He is nine now and while it had started to fade to the back of his mind to a certain extent, the trial brought it all back.
“What that monster did is unforgivable. And it is upsetting that he has been working with children at Oxygen Freejumping. I only hope there aren’t more victims out there.”
The mum said that she had never been entirely comfortable in Kelman’s company, but at first put it down simply to his having an “over-friendly” personality.
David Stalker, chief executive officer of Oxygen Free Jumping, said: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear these revelations, and were unaware of any wrongdoing.
“The individual worked for Oxygen from May to early December 2016, and had a background working across the regulated childcare sector across the North West. We received no reports from customers regarding incidents during his time with the company, and nothing was brought to our attention.
“At the time of his employment we were not informed of any allegation, and completed our normal progress including a DBS check which we were informed was not reliant for the role. The first time we were notified of this incident was over the last few days, at which point he no longer worked for the company, and as a result we were not informed.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the victim and their family.”