October 2016

Judge rules child rapist remains a danger to the public

A paedophile, serving an indefinite sentence for molesting and raping a string of young boys, has heard from top judges that he remains a public danger.

Ashley James William Gilheaney, of Hood Street, Accrington, was initially jailed for eight years over “horrendous” sex attacks on youngsters in 2010.

Then, while behind bars and undergoing a sex offender’s treatment programme, he made further shocking revelations.

Gilheaney, 26, confessed that he had raped or committed sex attacks on another three boys.

In December 2011, he pleaded guilty to two counts of raping a child under 13 and four other sex offences against the youngsters.

He was put behind bars indefinitely for public protection at Preston Crown Court in February 2012.

The sentence is almost identical to a life term and means Gilheaney will only be freed once the Parole Board is convinced he is no longer dangerous.

Today he asked three senior judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court to overturn the open-ended sentence.

His lawyers pointed to his voluntary confession and guilty pleas.

He had shown a great deal of remorse and had wrongly been condemned as a “dangerous” offender, they argued.

But Mr Justice Wilkie said: “The mere fact he saw fit to make these revelations himself didn’t necessarily mean that he was no longer dangerous.

“Although a great deal of progress has been made, there is still a great deal to be done before the level of risk he poses to the public can be significantly reduced so that he is no longer deemed dangerous”.

The judge, sitting with Lord Justice McCombe and Judge Peter Rook QC, concluded: “This application is refused.”

February 2012

Accrington sex beast jailed

A child sex beast from Accrington has been locked up indefinitely for public protection after he confessed to claiming three more victims.

Ashley Gilheaney, 22, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a young boy in woodland and raping another youngster.

But while in prison Gilheaney, of Hood Street, asked for detectives to vist him in custody, Preston Crown Court was told.

Paul Cummings, prosecuting, said he confessed to targetting three other young boys in Accrington between February 2006 and March 2010.

He told police he had been using amphetamines at the time and could not recall the exact dateswhen he struck.

One of the victims was aged nine and Gilheaney performed a sex act on him and groped him.

Gilheaney had full sex with a second boy against his will and only stopped when the youngster protested.

Mr Cummings said a third victim, aged 10, was groped and then forced to remove his clothing before being subjected to a sex act.

The boys were all interviewed later on video and variously told police how they had felt ‘frightened’ or ‘threatened’ by Gilheaney’s advances.

Passing sentence, Judge Pamela Badley imposed a sentence of indeterminate imprisonment for public protection, with a recommendation he serves at least five years behind bars.

The families of Gilheaney’s victims were in court to hear sentence being passed and several had to leave as his offending was detailed.

Gilheaney admitted three offences of rape, two offences of sexual assault and one offence of sexual touching.