A PERVERTED Lutterworth man who raped and sexually abused two girls he had systematically groomed and manipulated will have to serve what he believes will be ‘a life sentence’ behind bars.
And even if John Gillatt, who accused his victims of lying, does not die in jail, he will be around 80 before the Parole Board will even consider releasing him on licence.
Gillatt, 65, of Woodmarket, Lutterworth, had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a number of sexual offences against his two victims.
But the jury convicted him of six charges of rape, six counts of sexual assault, one count of possessing extreme pornography and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was also found guilty of making and possessing indecent images of children, but was cleared of less serious alleged sexual offences against a third child.
Gillatt, who continues to deny the offences, was jailed for 22 years, with an additional year on licence following his eventual release, and was ordered to register as a sex offender for life.
He will have to serve at least two-thirds of the 22-year sentence before the Parole Board will even consider his release – and will only be freed before serving the full term if he is no longer considered a danger to children by then.
Gillatt was arrested in May 2020 after Warwickshire Police received a report raising concern he was sexually abusing a child.
Enquiries led to the two victims being identified who were aged between nine and 18 when they were sexually abused by Gillatt. The offences took place between 2004 and 2020.
Gillatt, who owned a car mat manufacturing business, would often take his victims to his business premises around the county to abuse them.
Prosecutor Stefan Kolodynski said that after coming into contact with his two victims when they were both under 13, Gillatt subjected them to sexual abuse which progressed to raping them.
And in an impact statement one of them said the abuse had made her feel ‘like a slag,’ which led to her self-harming and considering taking her own life.
Following the jury’s verdicts, Simon Hunka, defending, said: “Of course Mr Gillatt denied all of the offending and he continues to deny it.
“So I can’t offer any words of remorse on his part or any apology, and many people would think Mr Gillatt should go to prison and throw away the key.
“Of course, the court has to deal with him as an individual, and despite the fact that his behaviour has been of the worst kind, he will suffer greatly.
“He has never before had so much as a parking ticket, and the life he hoped for in retirement has gone, and he leaves his wife and son to pick up the pieces.
“To go to prison for the first time at his time of life is hard, but to go to prison for the first time for this sort of offence is even worse.
“He will carry the fear that whatever sentence Your Honour passes on him will in effect be a life sentence.”
Jailing Gillatt, Recorder Rachel Brand QC told him that his outwardly respectable life in the years before his arrest in May last year ‘have been characterised by hypocrisy.’
She observed that he had ensured the silence of one of his teenage victims by ‘a combination of threats and psychological manipulation.’
Recorder Brand said Gillatt had then moved his attention to a younger girl, making an indecent video recording of her which he kept until his arrest, and raping her.
And she told Gillatt: “You were devious in the way you manufactured situations so you could be alone with those girls.
“Your corruption of those vulnerable girls was complete and has had a devastating psychological impact on them.
“During the trial you subjected them to accusations that they had lied when in truth, as the jury found, it was you who had lied. You are, I have no doubt, a dangerous offender.”
After the trial, Det Cons Steve Gilks from the Warwickshire Police Child Abuse, Trafficking and Exploitation Team said: “Gillatt gave the outward appearance of being an upstanding member of the community – but behind this facade he was grooming and sexually abusing these young children. One can’t begin to imagine the impact years of systematic abuse has had on them.
“The sentence handed down to Gillatt reflects the severity of the offences for which he was convicted.
“He leaves behind him devastated lives due to his selfish actions. The victims now have the hope of moving forward with their lives but will forever be reminded of the abuse they suffered by this man and this will be their burden for life. I hope the sentence plays a role in helping them deal with his actions.
“They have shown incredible bravery in reporting his offending and supporting this investigation. I hope it encourages other victims of sexual offences to come forward to police so we can bring other offenders to justice.”