July 2009

Exeter man jailed for sex offences

A MAN has been jailed for repeatedly molesting a young girl in the city.

Peter Gilbert, 55, of Farm Hill, Exwick, pleaded guilty to four charges of sexually assaulting a child, when he appeared before Exeter Crown Court.

Gilbert admitted touching the girl on four separate occasions, the court was told.

The dates of the offences, which happened in the last decade, cannot be published as they could reveal the girl’s identity.

Gilbert was given a six- month jail term for each of the four counts, to run concurrently.

He was told that the would have to spend at least half of that time in custody before being considered for release.

Prosecutor Malcolm Galloway said Gilbert admitted touching the girl, beginning when she was 10 on four separate occasions.

Defence counsel Richard Crabb said Gilbert’s contact with the girl had initially been innocent.

He argued that Gilbert should be spared custody after fully admitting what he had done, and said aprogramme of treatment to address his offending would be more appropriate than jail.

But Judge Stephen Wildblood said custody was the only appropriate sentence.

After the case, Detective Constable Mark Uren, of the Exeter, East and Mid Devon sexual abuse team, welcomed the custodial sentence.

He said the offences were aggravated by the fact that they had taken place over a period of 12 months and the defendant grossly abused a position of trust.

DC Uren said Gilbert had told the victim not to tell her parents about the abuse and said it was right that he should be punished for the offence with a custodial sentence.

He said the family of the victim were pleased that the guilty plea had prevented a difficult and sensitive trial.

DC Uren said: “They now wish to put the matter behind them and move forward.

“From the police’s view, I would like to say that although Mr Gilbert admitted his guilt it should not be dismissed that he sexually abused a very vulnerable child who had placed vast trust in him.”