Britain's Got Talent Boogie Storm dancer jailed for child sex offences
A former member of a dance group that got to the finals of Britain's Got Talent has been jailed for almost three years for child sex offences.
Christopher Gittins groomed his victim, repeatedly subjecting him to abuse in 2018.
Gittins, aged 23, pleaded guilty to six counts relating to him engaging in sexual activity with a male child and was sentenced today.
Judge Niclas Parry told him: “What you did was to groom him and cause him to believe he was special. You would call him and buy him gifts. You clearly knew that what you were doing was illegal.”
The judge told Gittins he had used the boy as an “emotional crutch” to deal with his own personal problems and had repeatedly abused him for his own gratification.
He said the offences were in the most serious category under the sentencing guidelines.
Caernarfon Crown Court heard how the incidents had taken place at locations including Powis Castle grounds, near Welshpool, and a public toilet.
Mr John Philpotts, prosecuting, said the matter came to light when the boy’s mother borrowed his phone and read Facebook messages from Gittins.
“She sent a message to the defendant before she went to the police station the next day. He responded by saying that if she didn’t approve he would stop. He didn’t deny it from the start,” he said.
Reading her impact statement in court the victim’s mother told Gittins that he had robbed the boy of his “childhood” and his “innocence”. She said he had lost his friends and his confidence as a result of what had happened.
“When I read the messages you sent to my son, I felt sick,” she told him.
The victim said the experience left him “anxious” and that his education had suffered.
Gittins was arrested on January 9, 2019.
Mr John Hedgecoe, defending, said: “He has indicated remorse and has accepted his responsibility throughout.”
Gittins, of Woodside, Welshpool, was jailed for two years and nine months on each count to be served concurrently.
He must serve half before being released on licence. He was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life, meaning he cannot approach males aged under 16. He must also pay the victims’ surcharge.
Boogie Storm reached the final of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2016. The dancing Stormtroopers received Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer which sent them through automatically to the finals where they came third behind series winner magician Richard Jones.
Following the sentencing, Boogie Storm creator Lee Seddon told the Shropshire Star: "Our hearts go out to the victim and to his family. We were left in shock when we heard about it via social media.
"We have not been in contact with Mr Gittins since he left the group. He was with us in 2016 when he was a teenager and was in the pool of dancers who performed on Britain's Got Talent.
"He left sometime after that in about 2017. These offences happened afterwards.
"He was from Wales and wasn't as close to the rest of the others who were from Liverpool. He returned there with his family.
"This case is about what he's done and not about Boogie Storm. This is not something which we want to be associated with.
"We've moved on to perform overseas and we do a lot for charities."
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