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Littlehampton man sentenced for sex offences on ‘young and vulnerable children’ in Crawley

He was found guilty of offences that took place between 1988 and 1996, against children as young as 8-years-old.

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Peter Gillett, 59, self-employed, of Arundel Road, Littlehampton.

A 59-year-old man from Littlehampton has been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment over a series of child sex offences in Crawley.

Self-employed Peter Gillett, of Arundel Road, Littlehampton, had been convicted at Lewes Crown Court on Friday 16 February of a series of seven counts of non-recent sexual offences in Crawley, some involving multiple occasions, against two young girls and a young boy, all known to him.

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Sentencing awaited the outcome of a separate trial for Gillett for possession of a stun gun found at his address when he was arrested in 2016.

That trial took place at Hove Crown Court on 8 October. He was convicted of that offence too and was given a 12-month sentence to run concurrently with the sex offence sentencing.

A court-imposed reporting restriction had prohibited publication of news of the sex offence sentences until the stun gun offence was dealt with.

All but one of the sex offences related to the period between 1988 and 1990. Gillett will be a registered sex offender for life.

He was convicted of:

  • two counts of rape, two of indecent assault, one count of multiple offences of rape and indecent assault, one of causing actual bodily harm, against a girl then aged between 13 and 15;
  • one count of gross indecency, and a count of child cruelty, against a boy then aged between 8 and 15 – the child cruelty count related to the period 1988 to 1996;
  • one count of indecent assault against a girl then aged between 13 and 15.

He was found not guilty of a count of rape and a count of indecent assault against the first girl and one count of indecent assault against the boy.

The prosecution followed an investigation by detectives from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit.

Detective Constable Rees Hopcraft said: “These offences came to light in 2016 when the two girls, by then in their forties, contacted us after learning of online postings suggesting that Gillett had committed sexual offences against the boy.

“We investigated and gradually uncovered a series of offences of sexual abuse by him against all three victims when they were young and vulnerable children, over a period of years.

“All three gave evidence against him and after a long trial, during which Gillett discharged his counsel and defended himself, the jury found him guilty of the sexual offences.

“We will always take seriously and follow up such reports, regardless of how long ago the events are said to have occurred.”

For sources of advice and support on sex offences against children see the Sussex Police website.

Crime

Wanted man Thomas Keatley may be in Crawley

Keatley was jailed for eight years for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Police say he has links to Crawley.

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A man who is wanted on recall to prison for breaching the terms of his licence has links to Crawley, Police have revealed.

Sussex Police are on the hunt for 33-year-old Thomas Keatley, formerly of Brighton Road in Lancing.

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Keatley was jailed for eight years for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life in October 2013.

Police had discovered a homemade gun, bullets, equipment used to make ammunition as well as a USB stick containing guides on how to make handguns and automatic machine guns inside a Crawley garage.

He has been released from prison.

A Sussex Police statement says: “Keatley has links to Crawley, Brighton and Worthing. He is white, of heavy build with black hair.

“Anyone who has seen Keatley or has any information about him should contact police online
or ring 101 quoting serial 710 of 26/09.”

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