Pensioner jailed for sexual abuse of schoolgirls

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Latest breaking news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A man convicted of sexually abusing two schoolgirls has been jailed for more than eight years.

Thomas Gibbons, 74, of Bures Road, Nayland had denied seven offences but was this week found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown

Court.

Today (September 24) Gibbons returned to court to be sentenced by Judge David Goodin who had presided over his trial.

He was sentenced to eight years and six months imprisonment and made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and told he will remains on the sexual offences register indefinitely.

Judge Goodin told Gibbons that his offending had been so serious that only an immediate prison sentence was appropriate.

The assaults, said to have been committed between 2005 and 2012, had been a breach of trust, said the judge.

Gibbons was found guilty of three offences of sexual assault by penetration of a girl aged under 13 and three offences of sexual assault of a child aged under 13.

He was also convicted of one offence of sexual assault of a girl aged under 13 involving a another schoolgirl.

The jury had been told by one of the girls that she had been sexually assaulted by Gibbons at a caravan which was being stored at a farm.

Prosecuting, Nicola May said the girl had never received any sex education at school and at the time had thought that what it was claimed Gibbons had done was normal behaviour.

Both victims gave evidence during the trial through recorded interviews.

Giving evidence, Gibbons admitted he knew the girls but said nothing inappropriate or sexual had ever taken place between them. He accused the girls of making up the allegations but said he could not explain why they had done that.

Gibbons said that he had visited the caravan occasionally to check that all was in order and claimed that he had only ever been there for a few minutes each time.