MAY 2009

Army sergeant jailed for preying on young

A SERGEANT for St Albans Army Cadets was jailed for two years for indecently assaulting a child more than 30 years ago.

Nigel Tibbett, 57, who lived in Lawrence Road in St Albans in the 1970s pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial to three offences of indecent assault which occured when he was working as a staff sergeant for St Albans Army Cadets at Westminster Lodge between 1974 and 1976.

The victim, now in his forties who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged 14 to 15 at the time of the offences.

Sentencing Tibbett to two years imprisonment for three counts of indecent assault and a year for possession of indecent images to run concurrently, Judge Richard Foster said: “It was clear that Tibbett was grooming him by taking him to cadet. He breached trust in the most gross way.”

Speaking after the hearing at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, PC Amy McCarthy from the Child Abuse Investigation Unit said: “Tibbett was in a position of trust and he preyed on a vulnerable young boy.

“Despite the offences having occurred more than 30 years ago, we were still able to put together a water-tight case to bring before the courts.

“Tibbett clearly has had a long-standing interest in young boys and he has been brought to justice for his crimes through the courage of one of his victims, who struggled to come to terms with what happened to him in his childhood.

“Tibbett pleaded guilty to the indecent assaults at the last moment – on the first day of his trial, because of the huge weight of evidence we had against him.

“We’re pleased with the result as it safeguards young people from him in the future. I know the victim is happy that justice has finally been done and he can start to move on from this horrendous experience.”

Detective Inspector Paul Doran added: “Those people who commit offences in this way need to know that time is no barrier for justice and thinking you have ‘got away with it’ seriously underestimates the commitment of the specialist officers involved in this work.”

Tibbett was also given a sex offender prevention order banning him from being near anyone under the age of 16 without supervision and having no access to a computer.

He will remain on the sex offenders’ register for life and is disqualified from ever working with children.

The victim reported the case to police in July 2008.

Tibbett was arrested at his current address in Darwin in Lancashire in 2006.

Officers searched his home and uncovered computers containing indecent images of young people.

Tibbett was put on the sex offenders’ register for possession of indecent images of young boys.

He was given a three-year rehabilitation order during which he was found with a number of indecent images of young boys and arrested.