December 2014

Convicted Cumbria sex offender sexually assaulted an underage girl following a “classic example” of internet grooming

Ian Gabbert, 23, of Ulpha, near Broughton, was jailed for 22 months by a judge at Preston Crown Court on Friday.

He pleaded guilty to one offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming, another of sexual assault and breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

The court heard how Gabbert had contacted a 14-year-old girl through Facebook then called her to arrange a meeting in October this year.

Sue Carter, prosecuting, told the court that Gabbert met the victim at the address of a third party, where he placed a hand on her breast, over her clothing. She felt uncomfortable and told him to stop.

At the time of the offence Gabbert was on a suspended sentence for breaching the terms of an existing sexual offences prevention order.

Raquel Simpson, defending, said the offences had occurred five months into the suspended sentence order and in that time he had complied “exceptionally” with supervision.

She added that the defendant has significant learning difficulties.

She said: “I submit that five months is not sufficient time for the order to have had proper effect.

“He has been on remand in Preston prison for two months.

“He has not started any sex offenders treatment programme yet.

“I am asking the court for an opportunity for him to break the cycle.”

Passing sentence, the judge, Recorder John Jones QC, said: “This is a classic example of how young children are groomed by others.

“There is remote contact, followed by phone contact, followed by actual contact and then actual abuse.”

He told Gabbert: “You are suffering from a learning disability.

“There is a complete inability to see what you do is so damaging to yourself and others.”

Gabbert will be placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and be subject to a sexual offences prevention order until further order.

June 2014

CONVICTED pervert from South Cumbria has avoided a jail term after breaking the terms of his sex offenders order

Ian Gabbert, of Pannel Holme, Ulpha, apperaed at Preston Crown Court on Friday where he was yesterday given a 10-month prison sentence at suspended for two years.

The 23-year-old, who is in the lower five per cent of the country in terms of IQ, had travelled to Carlisle to meet two girls, aged 14 and 15, last year.

In June 2011 Gabbert was sentenced to two years in youth custody after pleading guilty to five offences, one count of sexual activity with a 14-year-old, one of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old, two charges of child abduction

He was released in March 2012 on licence but, under the terms of his sex offenders order, he was given an indefinite ban from unsupervised contact with children under 16.

The ban forbade him from contacting, approaching, speaking to or touching any child under 16, unless supervised by an adult, or with the consent of the child’s parent and guardian, who had full knowledge of his offending.

Mr Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, told the court the father of one of the girls contacted police last August, concerned by what he saw on her Facebook page.

Gabbert had travelled by train to Carlisle to meet her and her friend “six or seven” times.

Gabbert told one girl he wanted to be her boyfriend and that he loved her, but she only wanted to be his friend.

Mr Andrew Scott, defending, told the court: “The defendant in some ways doesn’t realise the severity of what he has done. He finds it difficult in understanding certain matters.

“He doesn’t hide behind what he has done. He is hard working.

“He just needs to know and understand, to be constructively managed for longer than the licence period.”

The court heard Gabbert was lonely after his 15-year-old brother died in November last year after being shot in the head.

Judge Heather Lloyd said: “I have come to the conclusion, albeit with some reservations, that a suspended sentence order is appropriate.

“I make it clear this is your last chance.”

June 2011

Sex offender jailed

A YOUNG man who became sexually involved with two underage girls has been sentenced to two years youth custody.

Ian Gabbert’s offences came to light when he went to a police station to report an alleged assault by the parents of one girl he had met through Facebook.

He went on to admit having sex with her – and also touching another girl over her clothing. He also abducted two girls in his car and was involved in a high speed pursuit with police through country lanes.

The 20-year-old of Ulpha, pleaded guilty to five offences, one count of sexual activity with a 14-year-old, one of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old, two charges of child abduction, plus another offence of dangerous driving.

Preston Crown Court yesterday heard how the offence relating to the 14-year-old came to light in March when Gabbert went to Millom police station and claimed to a policewoman he had been assaulted by that girl’s parents.

Mr Nick Kennedy, prosecuting, said that while details were being taken from him, Gabbert informed her he thought it was the result of him having been in a relationship with the daughter.

He went on to confirm he had had sex with her on one occasion, thinking she was 15, because that’s how old she said she was.

He spoke of having had initial contact with the 12-year-old through MSN. They had gone on to meet up.

He spoke of them having kissed and touching each other over clothing.

Mr Kennedy said: “The defendant made full admissions at the first opportunity, without their being any evidence from either of the two girls to confirm what he said.”

Before the dangerous driving offence occurred, the second girl, then aged 13 and a 15-year-old girl were reported as being missing.

It was suspected that they were both in his company.

In March, there was a police chase after officers passed Gabbert’s vehicle in Eskdale.

He accelerated away, travelling up to 60mph on tight country lanes.

The pursuit continued through Hardknott Pass, Kirkstone Pass, the Troutbeck area and Windermere village.

Oncoming vehicles had to pull up sharply to avoid contact with his vehicle.

An attempt to stop him in the Kendal area didn’t work, but he was arrested after getting stuck in stationary traffic.

He had no previous convictions.

Miss Kim Whittlestone, defending, said it was an exceptionally rare case. There would have been no evidence on the first two charges, but for his full admissions to police.

“This defendant is not the sort of young man who has tried to wriggle out of admissions he has made to the police.”

She referred to a psychological report which stated the girls in the case were likely more sociable and mentally able than he was.

He had learning difficulties.

“He was unable to handle himself with people of his own age. He was seeking affection from both girls.

“He had lived a very isolated young life.”

She said the girls in the abduction charges had asked him to take them out for a drive.

He accepted that his driving had been appalling.

Gabbert had been scared because he knew he had done wrong and would be in trouble.

Judge Graham Knowles QC agreed that it was an exceptional case.

The defendant was in the lower five per cent of the intellectual range of the population.

He told him: “What you did with those girls and what you did to those girls was wrong and badly wrong.

“You must go to prison for it. You must not have anything to do with girls under 16 again.”

He will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years and subject to a sexual offences prevention order until further notice.