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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

Appeal for help after five masked robbers force way into home in Crawley

Detectives in Crawley are seeking information about a violent attack at a home in Pound Hill.

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At 3,30pm on Thursday 22 November the occupants of the house in Punch Copse Road, answered the door, and were confronted with five men with their faces covered who threatened the occupants and forced their way into the house.

They stole a quantity of cash and a box containing some cutlery before leaving the address and making off in a car which was parked nearby.

All the suspects are described as black, and were wearing dark coloured clothing.

One of the occupants, a 37-year old woman, was knocked to the floor during the attack and sustained bruising and a shoulder injury for which she was treated at East Surrey Hospital.

Detective Constable Mark Buckley said;

“We have been making extensive local enquiries and are still seeking witnesses who were in the area that afternoon, particularly around Punch Copse Road or surrounding roads, and including anyone who was using dashcam in their own car at the time.”

If you have any information please contact us via 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, quoting serial 904 of 22/11.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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