Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Play centre worker Michael Gibbons jailed for child sex abuse

Michael Gibbons Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Michael Gibbons assaulted children as young as four years old

A former employee who sexually abused young children at a summer holiday playscheme and in other locations has been jailed for 11 years.

Michael Gibbons, 27, of Yateley, Hampshire abused seven children, some aged as young as four, a court heard.

He pleaded guilty in April to nine sexual assaults, including two at Farnborough Leisure Centre where he was employed as a play worker.

The offences happened in Hampshire and Berkshire between 2009 and 2016.

Gibbons also admitted one count of rape and six other sexual offences.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Two children were assaulted at leisure centre holiday club, where Gibbons was employed

They included four counts of inciting children to engage in sexual activity and two attempted sexual assaults.

Gibbons, of Dickens Way, was arrested in December after he confessed his crimes to the mental health charity Mind.

'Body felt sad'

In police interviews he admitted sexually touching two children at the play centre holiday club, even though the crimes were never reported to the police.

One young victim told the police how her "body felt sad" after Gibbons assaulted her, while other children reported having nightmares, the prosecution said.

Sentencing him at Winchester Crown Court judge Jane Miller QC said Gibbons had shown "some remorse" for the lasting harm he had caused his victims and their families.

A spokesman for the NSPCC children's charity said: "With a clear and dangerous interest in children, Gibbons used his young victims for his own sexual gratification.

"His actions will have had a devastating impact on his victims and it's thanks to their bravery that Gibbons has been brought to justice."

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