Man jailed for sexually abusing boys in Saffron Walden
- Credit: Archant
A man convicted of sexual abuse of young boys in Saffron Walden has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Judge Patricia Lynch dismissed claims by the man’s barrister that he was too ill for the prison authorities to manage him. Diana Pigot described him as having epilepsy – he had seizures both during his trial and the sentencing – as well as learning difficulties, depression, a lack of mobility and heart disease. She said he was a prisoner in his own home.
Brian Gibbs, now 47, of Wingfield Road, Lakenheath, was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court in July of 11 offences against a group of children who all went to school together in the 1990s. The court heard that they used to hang around on the Common and American Playing Fields where Gibbs, then living in Ashdon Road, Saffron Walden, approached them.
He gave them cigarettes, alcohol, food and rides in his car as well as taking them on outings. The offences, which took place over six years from 1990 to 1996, came to light during the police’s Operation Yewtree investigation into Jimmy Savile.
The first victim went to the police saying he had told his partner about the abuse in 2013 when she was pregnant with their first child and she encouraged him to go to the police after he became too distressed to tell her the whole story.
Gibbs’s other victims came forward saying he had bribed them in exchange for sexual activities. He was given an eight-year sentence for the most serious offence of repeated and regular sexual assault and reciprocal oral sex.
One boy, now an adult, told the court: “It has wrecked my life. I feel dirty from what I let him do. He made my life rubbish. My life has been one big mess up.”
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Gibbs was given shorter sentences of one, two and four years for other sex acts, which included touching boys over their clothes and touching their naked private parts. He will serve these terms concurrently.
Other offences of making indecent photographs of a child have been allowed to lie on the file. Gibbs pleaded not guilty to all the offences. However, Gibb’s computer was confiscated and he is subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which means his internet use will be monitored by the police.
Representing Gibbs, Diana Pigot said: “Mr Gibbs has a plethora of medical complaints. It will be impossible for the prison authorities to manage it. He needs a breathing mask at all times through the night. He may die if it is switched off and it is a very noisy machine.”
She added: “He would need a single cell.”
Ms Pigot said Gibbs had left Saffron Walden when he was 30 and had not abused any children there or anywhere else since. She said some of the boys had agreed that they had used him for what they could get.
“Some made no complaint at the time. He sought friendship by buying them food and driving them around. He was older than them but he was very immature.”
The judge said the maximum sentence she could have given Gibbs for the most serious offence was 10 years. She had reduced the term having noted the medical evidence but said: “I do not agree that it would be impossible for the authorities to cope. I think they can take this into account and cater for him.”
She told Gibbs: “There was clear grooming of adolescent boys and taking advantage of them to perpetrate sexual offences. They took advantage of you by using you for lifts but none of them encouraged you to commit sexual acts. They were children and you were the adult.”
Gibbs, who had arrived at the court wheeling a trolley with a bag packed, registered nothing but resignation at the sentence.