December 2020

Former theatre stage manager from Devon jailed for sexually abusing teenage boy

A stage manager who worked with major showbiz stars has been jailed for 15 years for having sex with a 14-year-old boy who he groomed on Grindr.

Gareth Weeks persuaded the boy to go to bed with him on only their second meeting and blindfolded him during a bondage sex session.

He repeated the assault a couple of weeks later and secretly filmed himself having sex with the boy on both occasions.

Weeks then shared the film with a fellow paedophile while exchanging fantasies about having sex with boys as young as 12 or travelling to the Philippines in search of more victims.

He also tried to set up a threesome with the boy and his friend and wrote disgusting messages in which he spoke about ripping him apart.

The 14-year-old had gone on Grindr hoping to meet someone his own age with whom he could discuss issues about his sexuality, but instead fell prey to 52-year-old Weeks.

Weeks is a former stage manager who worked at theatres all over Britain and boasted to friends about having known showbiz stars including Little Britain’s Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

He was jailed for child sex offences in 1993 and 2012 but was still able to join an amateur theatre in Devon as a volunteer. He was still helping to organise shows until his arrest.

He was caught because police found his messages and images on another man’s phone and traced him back.

Detectives from the child protection team discovered that he was still on prison licence and subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) which banned any contact with children.

Weeks, aged 52, of Bassetts Gardens, Exmouth, admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child, meeting a child following grooming, inciting a child to sexual activity, arranging or facilitating a child sex offence, breach of a SOPO, and making, taking and distributing indecent images of children.

He was jailed for 15 years with a six year extended licence and certified as a dangerous offender by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.

The sentence means he will serve at least 10 years. He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The judge told him: “These are a string of remarkably serious sexual offences against the same victim, who was 14 and particularly vulnerable.

“You encouraged him to meet you, and on your second meeting you blindfolded him, put him in some kind of bondage gear, and had unprotected sex with him.

“You knew he was exceptionally young and it is quite clear you did not care. The interest you showed towards him was totally false and intended to inveigle him into your trust. It was completely self-serving, duplicitous and misleading.

“You had only one thing on your mind and were not in the slightest concerned about the damage you were doing to him. You were not even remotely close to him in age but you didn’t care about that.

“Your messages show the violence you wanted to do to him were just utterly appalling. These were not fantasies because you had already arranged to meet him and already violated him.

“It is clear you intended to do so again, but for your phone being seized by the police.”

James Tucker, prosecuting, said Weeks made contact with the boy within hours of him posting a Grindr profile in 2018 and told him he could help him sort out issues at home and at school.

Weeks arranged a meeting at which he tried to initiate sex but the boy declined. They met again at Weeks’ home two weeks later when he blindfolded and tied him up.

The same thing happened a couple of weeks later. The boy later told police he was confused and felt he was being controlled by the older man.

Images found on Weeks’s phone showed he filmed both encounters without the boy knowing and exchanged them with other paedophiles.

Messages also showed Weeks was in touch with a man in June 2019 urging him to contact the boy and suggesting a threesome. His messages showed he knew the boy’s age but they still went on to discuss “ripping” him.

In one message to the boy Weeks said: “I love boys your age, and younger to be honest.”

December 2020

Devon theatre worker facing jail over child sex abuse admission

A former theatre worker has been warned to expect a long jail sentence after he admitted filming himself as he abused a 14-year-old boy.

Gareth Weeks, aged 52, from Exmouth, pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial at Exeter Crown Court to grooming the boy for sex and two counts of penetrative sexual activity with him

He moved to Devon after being convicted of taking and distributing images of teenage boys in Sussex in 2012 and volunteered to help with a theatre group without telling them about his past.

He has worked in theatre all his life as a stage manager, including on tours with internationally famous performers.

By the time he moved to Devon, he was banned from any contact with children by a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which was made when he was jailed in 2012.

He was arrested this summer and police found evidence on his phone and other devices of him committing serious sexual offences with the 14-year-old boy.

There were also messages to another man in which he discussed his abuse of the child and spoke about making an introduction.

Weeks admitted meeting a child following grooming between October 1 and October 20, 2018 and sexual activity on November 19, 2018 and dates between then and June 1, 2019.

Weeks had already pleaded guilty to making an indecent photograph of the same boy on November 7, 2018, taking an indecent photograph of him on November 19, 2018, and distributing an indecent photograph of him on June 15, 2019.

The photographs which he admitted taking and distributing were in category A, which is the most serious type of photograph.

Weeks also admitted causing or inciting the same child to engage in penetrative sexual activity between November 19, 2018 and June 1, 2019 and arranging or facilitating a child sex offence between June 13 and 19, 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which was made at Chichester Crown Court on May 9, 2012.

Weeks is a former stage manager who worked at theatres around the country and has been involved as a volunteer with a theatre group in Devon.

Judge Timothy Rose remanded him in custody and told him he considers him to be a dangerous offender. He warned him he faces a jail term of at least 10 years.

He will be sentenced today