‘Pure evil’ Leonard Gabbitas jailed for life for child sex offences

Leonard Gabbitas. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary.

Leonard Gabbitas. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary.

A serial sex offender described as 'pure evil' who carried out a 'campaign' of abuse involving five children has been jailed for life.

Leonard Gabbitas, 51, formerly of Bungay Road, Scole, near Diss, admitted a string of sex offences, including rape involving four girls and one boy dating back to the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Norwich Crown Court heard how some of his victims were shown pornographic photos before he sexually abused them. He also took photos on his mobile phone of him raping one victim.

William Carter, prosecuting, said that Gabbitas - who was said to have an interest in the occult - was arrested in February this year and later admitted carrying out the sexual abuse on his victims.

The court heard that Gabbitas had previous convictions, including one for possessing extreme porn and a conviction for an attempted robbery.

In an impact statement, one victim described Gabbitas as 'pure evil' and said that his abuse had robbed her of her childhood.

She said: 'My innocence was stolen from me.'

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Another victim also said that he had robbed her of her childhood but described how she was a 'survivor' despite the abuse she suffered.

Jailing him for life, Judge Maureen Bacon said that he posed a high risk of danger to children and said his case was one of 'exceptional gravity'.

She said he had marred the lives of his victims and said he had carried out a 'campaign' of sex abuse.

She ordered that he serve a minimum of eight years before being considered for parole. She also placed him on the sex offenders register for life.

Joanne Eley, for Gabbitas - who appeared via video link for the sentencing hearing from Norwich prison - said that he deserved credit for his guilty plea as it had saved his victims from the trauma of giving evidence.

She said the fact he had pleaded guilty showed some remorse.

'He has clear regrets about his behaviour in the past,' she said. 'He is deeply ashamed.'

She said that he had mental health issues and said: 'He wishes to apologise for his behaviour.'