October 2019

Paedophile Karl Sabbagh, author and film maker, jailed for grooming child

A renowned author and filmmaker was secretly a depraved paedophile who preyed on a ‘vulnerable’ child before grooming her.

Predator Karl Sabbagh began talking to his 14-year-old victim about films and literature but the conversation soon moved on to him sending videos of himself performing sex acts.

The 77-year-old pervert of Crab Tree Close, Bloxham, went on to ask the child to ‘stop shaving her pubic hair’ and later sent her a vibrator in the post.

Sabbagh – who has written numerous novels and produced documentaries – eventually met his victim, despite being some 60 years her senior, at a hotel in Dublin but no sexual activity took place.

At his sentencing hearing at Oxford Crown Court yesterday presiding Judge Peter Ross called the grooming ‘sophisticated’.

He said: “You are a man who apparently is eminent in both the literature and academic world.

“Much of your behaviour in my view would count as fairly sophisticated grooming behaviour directed towards a particularly vulnerable young teenager.”

Outlining the case prosecutor Lisa Goddard said that Sabbagh originally communicated with his victim towards the end of 2016.

As the relationship, via e-mail, Kik Messenger, texts and phone calls, developed the pair exchanged sexually explicit images and videos.

Prosecutors said many of these represented the highest category of banned imagery – in category A.

Months later Sabbagh met with the child at a hotel in Dublin but the court heard that nothing sexual took place at this 40-minute meeting.

He later went on to post her items including a vibrator, jewellery and 100 Euro.

Detailing the extent of the abuse Ms Goddard said: “He requested photographs of her without her underwear and commented he would like it if she stopped shaving her public hair.

“There was talk about vibrators and in fact he did bring her one.

“He sent a video of himself masturbating, there was talk of meeting her.”

Speaking of the meet-up in Dublin she said he had grabbed her arm which made her realise the seriousness of the communications.

Prosecutors added that the victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was ‘in a fragile state’ and described her as vulnerable during the abuse.

When he was arrested Sabbagh made no comment to police at interview but went on to admit one count of grooming of a child under 16.

In mitigation defence barrister Alison Gurden said that her client did not represent a high or medium risk of being a future danger to the public or to children.

She added that he was ‘very well renowned in the academic and literary world.’

Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross, jailed Sabbagh for 45 months and ordered that he sign the sex offenders register for life.