A man from Litherland has been sentenced to 29 years and six months for 29 counts of historical sexual offences against five children.
Stephen Finnigan, 63, was sentenced on Friday, 5 January, for multiple counts of indecent assault, gross indecency and other sexual offences following a two-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
Detectives carried out the investigation after receiving a report in 2014 of sex offences against a child which spanned a several-year period. Further victims also came forward, which led to a charge in 2022.
The crimes were historic dating back to the last century, where the offender breached a position of trust, as an instructor in the army cadets.
Merseyside Police wish to make it clear that the army cadets have co-operated fully throughout this operation and their assistance was invaluable.
Detective Constable Claire McDonald said, “The predatory behaviour displayed by Finnigan is utterly appalling and he will now spend years in prison for his depraved actions.
“His victims have showed immense courage and bravery to report the deplorable offences that Finnigan committed.
“Finnigan continued to deny the offences, which meant his victims had to endure a trial when they had to relive the horrific experiences.
“As you can imagine for victims of such an appalling crime, the impact on them is significant and long-lasting. I hope this sentence provides some comfort in knowing they did the right thing by reporting Finnigan’s heinous crime to us.
“I want to stress that time is no barrier to reporting offences and Merseyside Police is completely committed to protecting children from sexual abuse and those who seek to do them harm, regardless of when the offences occurred.
“If you have experienced any form of sexual abuse, or know of a child being abused, please come forward and report this to police.
“We take all such reports extremely seriously and if you can find the courage to come forward and speak to us we have specially trained officers who will treat you with sensitivity and compassion.”
A spokesperson for the army cadets said, “The Cadet organisation has cooperated fully with Merseyside Police throughout the investigation and has clear safeguarding measures and procedures in place to ensure the protection and support of all cadets and adult volunteers, through security screening, rigorous disclosure checks and regular safeguarding training.”
If you are a child or young person suffering sexual or physical abuse, the following organisations can also provide help and support:
NSPCC – call 0808 800 5000 or e-mail email@example.com
Childline – call 0800 1111
If you’ve been affected by sexual violence of any kind don’t be afraid to tell someone, find the courage to come forward and get the help you deserve.
You can report rape, sexual assault and other sexual offences anonymously here: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/ro/report/rsa/alpha-v1/advice/rape-sexual-assault-and-other-sexual-offences/how-to-report-rape-sexual-assault-other-sexual-offences/
There is a lot of support available from specialist officers within Merseyside Police and through the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Victim Care Merseyside service delivered jointly by two registered charities.
In Liverpool, Sefton, and Wirral, support is provided by Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (RASA) Merseyside who are available on 0151 558 1801 and, in St Helens and Knowsley, by the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063.
Image: Stephen Finnigan/Merseyside Police