Judge rules epileptic Lakenheath man convicted of sexually assaulting boys ‘not too ill for jail’

Chelmsford Crown Court

Chelmsford Crown Court - Credit: Lucy taylor

A Lakenheath man convicted of sexual abuse of boys in Essex has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Judge Patricia Lynch QC dismissed claims by Brian Gibbs’ barrister that he was too ill for the prison authorities to manage him.

Diana Pigot said Gibbs, 47, had epilepsy – he had seizures both during his trial and the sentencing – as well as learning difficulties, depression, a lack of mobility and heart disease, and described him as a prisoner in his own home.

Gibbs, of Wingfield Road, Lakenheath, was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court last month of 11 offences against a group of children in Saffron Walden in the 1990s.

The court heard the boys, aged between 10 and 16, used to hang around playing fields where Gibbs, then living in the town, approached them.

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He gave them cigarettes, alcohol, food and rides in his car as well as taking them on outings, during which time he sexually assaulted them.

The offences took place over six years.

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The first victim went to the police in 2013 after he became too distressed while trying to tell his partner what had happened.

Gibbs’ other victims came forward saying he had bribed them in exchange for sexual activities.

One victim 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.”

Gibbs was given eight years for the most serious sexual assault and sentences of one, two and four years for other sex acts included touching boys. He will serve these terms concurrently.

Gibbs had pleaded not guilty to all the offences – three counts of indecency with a child, seven counts of indecent assault and one of gross indecency – but was convicted after a trial.

Other offences of making indecent photographs of a child have been allowed to lie on the file.

His computer has been confiscated and he is subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which means his internet use will be monitored by the police.

Ms Pigot said Gibbs left Saffron Walden when he was 30 and had not abused any children there or anywhere else since, and said he had “sought friendship” and was “very immature”.

Sentencing yesterday, Judge Lynch said the maximum sentence was 10 years but she had reduced the term having noted the medical evidence.

She added: “I do not agree it would be impossible for the authorities to cope. I think they can take this into account and cater for him.

“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.”

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