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Christopher Gillard found guilty of historic child sexual abuse in West Malling

By William Janes

A sex offender who targeted and assaulted children as young as three several decades ago has finally been brought to justice.

Christopher Gillard has been jailed for abusing children in West Malling during the 1980s and 1990s.

He attacked victims as young as three over a period spanning more than a decade.

Police have arrested the suspect. Stock image
Police have arrested the suspect. Stock image

Gillard had initially denied any wrongdoing, telling police he had simply been ‘play fighting’ with his young victims.

A Kent Police investigation began in December 2015 after one of his victims came forward.

Enquires led to the discovery he had targeted and assaulted a further three children.

Gillard had carried out the abuse on multiple occasions, between 1987 and 1999, during a time he had been living in Sittingbourne, but also had connections to West Malling.

Now aged 64 and formerly of Penscombe Cross, Lezant, Launceston, in Cornwall, Gillard was charged with eight counts of indecent assault.

"Gillard manipulated and abused children for his own gratification and they will live with these memories for the rest of their lives" - DC Becky Taft

However, at Maidstone Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to five of the charges. The other three charges were ordered by the judge to remain on file.

Yesterday, Gillard was sentenced to five years and three months imprisonment.

Detective Constable Becky Taft said: "Gillard manipulated and abused children for his own gratification and they will live with these memories for the rest of their lives.

"I would like to thank the victims for helping us ensure he has now faced justice.Their bravery and courage in coming forward has demonstrated, once again, that it is never too late to report abuse to police.

"If you have been a victim of any sexual offence we will always treat any information with the upmost confidence and sensitivity."

An NSPCC spokesman added: "Abuse ruins childhoods and Gillard's appalling offending will have had a devastating and long-term impact on each of his victims.

"It would have taken tremendous bravery for them to come forward after years of carrying the burden of this abuse.

"We hope they are all receiving support to recover from their ordeal and this case shows that survivors of sexual abuse will be listened to when they speak out, no matter how long ago the offence took place."

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