Ipswich: Sex abuser is ‘just like the reptiles he sold in pet shop’

A FORMER pet shop owner who had sex with an under-age girl has been described by her devastated family as “the kind of reptile he was selling in his shop.”

Paul Gilbey, who ran the Skaley Skinz shop at the junction of Bramford Road and Norwich Road, “groomed” the 15-year-old girl during their relationship and had sex with her on three occasions, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Gilbey, who was 41 at the time of the offences, of Lackford Place, Ravenswood, admitted one offence of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and six offences of sexual activity with a child between November 6, 2011 and February 29, 2012.

Jailing him for two years and three months Judge Peter Thompson said: “Plainly you groomed this 15-year-old girl and persuaded her you were in a genuinely affectionate relationship.

“You groomed her knowing full well how old she was. She was exploited and you were the exploiter.

“Her family are devastated and they regard you as the kind of reptile you were selling in your shop because of the effect you have had on them because of your behaviour to her.”

In addition to jailing Gilbey, Judge Thompson ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders’ Reigster for ten years and banned him from contacting the victim of the offences for four years.

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Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said the victim of the offences had got to know Gilbey through a relative.

He said the offences had taken place at Gilbey’s former home and at Skaley Skinz, which had since ceased trading.

”There was a progression of sexual activity between them,” he said.

During the relationship the couple had exchanged text messages including intimate pictures.

“He was entirely aware of her age. She was 15 and he well knew it,” said Mr Sadd.

Roger Thomson for Gilbey said his client, who is now 42, had no previous convictions.

“Clearly he was a lot older and shouldn’t have done what he did,” said Mr Thomson.

“He has learned from what he has done and he apologises to the girl and the family.”

He said Gilbey and the girl had become friends and had similar interests.

“Things developed from there,” said Mr Thompson.

He said Gilbey had sex with the girl on three occasions in January last year.

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