Council's process of awarding alderman title under review after John Humphreys case

Convicted sex offender and former East Devon councillor John Humphreys

Convicted sex offender and former East Devon councillor John Humphreys - Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A report into the process that led to a councillor under investigation for sex crimes against children being awarded the title of alderman is to be carried out by East Devon District Council. 

Former Conservative East Devon councillor and Exmouth mayor John Humphreys was awarded the title in December 2019, while claims that he sexually assaulted two boys between 1990 and 2001 were being investigated.

He had been arrested in 2015 and put on bail in 2016 for the alleged offences, for which he was eventually convicted and handed a 21-year prison sentence in August this year. 

He would have known he was at risk of prosecution when he received the award and yet he still accepted the honour.  The council stripped him of the title following his conviction. 

The episode led councillors to agree to look into the selection process for aldermen. Unlike some other councils, East Devon currently has no protocol for nomination to the title. 

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