Cunard employee pleads guilty to sex offences

Cunard employee pleads guilty to sex offences

A former Cunard employee has pleaded guilty to charges under the Sexual Offences Act.

Swindon Crown Court heard that a number of the offences were committed while Paul Trotter (34, pictured) worked on board Cunard ships between 2004 and 2011. Trotter, from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, will be sentenced on May 11.

Judge Douglas Field told Trotter - who was arrested in August while living in Salisbury - that he would remanded in custody. He also ordered him to sign the sex offenders register.

Cunard President Peter Shanks said afterwards: “We were first made aware of these serious allegations eight months ago by Wiltshire Police and were deeply shocked by what we were told.

“Since then Cunard has provided full support and co-operation to the criminal investigation, and where possible within the constraints of the legal system, to the families involved.

“From the outset every family impacted by these appalling crimes has had our support. And by partnering with the NSPCC, guidance and help from the experts in the field of child welfare has been offered.

“Not only has the NSPCC been able to advise families but we asked them to conduct a thorough and comprehensive audit of our policies and procedures to make our safeguarding procedures for children as effective as possible.”

He added: “Paul Trotter was able to avoid detection despite all of our youth staff, including Mr Trotter, having had their criminal records checked. We have closed circuit TV on board all of our ships, including all of the children’s clubs, and our own rules dictate that a minimum of two members of staff are to be with children at all times.

“Our safeguards were strict but sadly did not stop this one individual from managing to circumvent the system and manipulate those around him. We are now working with the NSPCC and have already identified changes in three key areas for improvement.

“Firstly, we have changed our recruitment procedures. Secondly, we will introduce new training for youth staff and management positions. Thirdly, we have already improved onboard supervision of youth centres, including the introduction of spot checks by onboard senior officers.

“We want to make sure that our policies and procedures are as robust as they possibly can be and therefore we will implement immediately any other recommendations that the NSPCC makes to improve our policies and practices.

“We will do everything in our power to put in place every possible safeguard for children so that we know we are doing all we can to protect them while they are on board our ships.

“With that in mind we have agreed with the NSPCC that we will develop a long-term relationship with the aim to have the safest holiday experience for children and their parents.”

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