Shropshire Star

Depraved paedophile who abused children - some under five years old - jailed for 21 years

A 'dangerous and predatory paedophile' who sexually abused children with the help of two women has been locked up for more than 20 years.

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Gavin Sloan even targeted children under the age of five

Gavin Sloan, 46, formerly of Briar Close, Minsterley, was sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court for a catalogue of serious sexual abuse against children – some under five years old.

Judge Peter Barrie told Sloan: "The nature of your offending makes it clear you are a dangerous and predatory paedophile. You know no boundaries."

The court was told that some of the abuse had taken place in person, and some had taken place using the internet.

Judge Barrie heard that Sloan had been aided in the offending by two successive girlfriends, Louise Smith, 42, formerly of Cheshire, and then Jenna Ball, 37, of Sutton Road, Kidderminster.

Both women had also carried out serious sexual offences against children.

Louise Smith

Gary Venturi, prosecuting, told the court that Sloan's shocking crimes had included the rape of a child under five – an offence he had filmed.

Mr Venturi told the court Sloan had also filmed himself carrying out other forms of sexual abuse on young children – over a period of offending that lasted for eight years from 2013.

Sloan and Smith, who met on the dating app 'Plenty of Fish', had also filmed themselves abusing children, while Smith carried out instances of abuse without Sloan present.

The court was told Ball had encouraged a young boy to expose himself, filming it on a phone, and providing it for Sloan.

Mr Venturi said her actions had been guided by messages and requests from Sloan.

The court was told she had also looked to secure other opportunities for Sloan to abuse children in person.

Judge Barrie heard that Sloan had images of abuse sent to him by another unnamed offender, and was in possession of hundreds of serious images of abuse.

The court also heard that Sloan had abused young girls using the social media app Snapchat – encouraging them to send him videos and pictures.

The court was told that when Sloan's home was raided by police, he had made efforts to hide SD cards and phones containing hundreds of videos and images of abuse.

Mr Venturi said: "Detective Constable Whelan and others executed a warrant. Sloan was slow to allow them to enter and was making determined efforts to hide evidence.

"Officers found a plastic tube taped to the underside of a table with SD cards inside which contained a number of images. He refused to say where his mobile telephones were and they were found down the side of a sofa."

Solicitors acting for all three defendants said they deserved credit for their guilty pleas.

Debra White for Sloan said he suffers from ADHD, while Mark Connor for Smith said she believed she had in effect been 'groomed' by her partner.

Abigail Nixon for Ball said psychiatric reports had shown her to have a mental age of 10.

Sloan had admitted a total of 27 charges and was sentenced to 21 years in prison, with five years on licence.

Smith had admitted 12 charges and was sentenced to 11 years in prison with three years on licence.

Ball had admitted three charges and was given a two years prison sentence suspended for two years – with a requirement to carry out 60 hours of rehabilitation work, and 240 hours of unpaid work.

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