August 2021

Paedophile jailed after he tried to take his own life

A paedophile has been jailed after he tried to take his own life rather than face justice.

Bryan Gibbs, aged 55, was found on a beach having taken an overdose on the date of his sentencing hearing at Plymouth Crown Court.

Police, paramedics, coastguards and firefighters were called to rescue him from the Hoe foreshore that morning.

He had been convicted by a jury of two indecent assaults on a girl in 1994.

Gibbs was treated at Derriford Hospital and returned to the court about six weeks later.

Jailing him for four years, Judge Robert Linford said: “She lived with what had happened to her for many years before finally reporting it to police in 2017.

“Her victim personal statement which I have read sets out the devastating effect of your assaults upon her. She has lost any self-confidence which she may have had, she suffers from flashbacks and what you did to her will remain with her for the rest of her life.”

Gibbs, of Staverton near Totnes, was convicted at a trial at the court in April of two indecent assaults on a girl aged under 14 in 1994. He had denied the charges.

The court heard that he had no previous convictions.

He was released on bail for sentence on June 28 but the judge said he had written to say that he was going to take his own life.

He was found on a beach near Madeira Road on the Hoe having taken medication.

Police, coastguards and paramedics attended that morning at about the time Gibbs was due to face a judge.

His barrister Ali Rafati told the court in his absence: “He was found on a beach in Plymouth this morning having taken an overdose. He is in a critical state.”

Gibbs was taken to hospital in a critical condition but was later discharged.

Mr Rafati told the sentencing hearing neither he nor the defendant’s solicitors could represent him following a breakdown in their relationship.

Gibbs said a few words in mitigation from the dock, but could not be heard over the videolink because he was not near a microphone.

Judge Linford sentenced him after reading a probation report.

He said that Gibbs would not automatically be set free at the usual half-way point but his release would have to be approved by the parole board. The defendant will spend an extra 12 months on licence following his time in prison.