A MAN from Merseyside has been sentenced to almost 30 years in prison for a string of historical sexual offences against children.
Stephen Finnigan, 63, of Longfield Road, Litherland was found guilty of 29 offences against five children, including multiple counts of indecent assault and gross indecency.
On Friday, the former Army Cadets instructor was sentenced to 29 years and six months in relation to 29 counts of historical sexual offences against five children.
“The predatory behaviour displayed by Finnigan is utterly appalling and he will now spend years in prison for his depraved actions,” said Detective Constable Claire McDonald.
Detectives from Merseyside Police carried out an investigation into Finnigan after receiving a report in 2014 of sex offences against a child which spanned a period of several years.
Further victims also came forward, which led to a charge in 2022.
The crimes dated back to the last century when Finnigan breached a position of trust as an instructor in the Army Cadets, a voluntary youth organisation sponsored by the British Army.
Finnigan abused the four cadets and a fifth boy when they were between the ages of eight and 14.
According to the BBC, he groomed the cadets with cigarettes and beer before abusing them while working at two bases in Liverpool in the 1980s and 1990s.
As well as being in contact with them at cadet bases, he also attended a flat where the boys gathered, took them to a firing range and brought them on camping trips.
Finnegan had denied the charges but was found guilty and sentenced on Friday.
“His victims have showed immense courage and bravery to report the deplorable offences that Finnigan committed,” added DC McDonald.
“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.”
Merseyside Police said the Army Cadets co-operated fully throughout their investigation and provided invaluable assistance.
A spokesperson for the organisation said it ‘has clear safeguarding measures and procedures in place to ensure the protection and support of all cadets and adult volunteers’.