Court Result

Berkshire man jailed for child sexual offences

A man has been sentenced to prison for child sexual offences following an investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).

Gareth Richards, aged 30, from St Michaels Road, Reading, was sentenced to a total of four years’ imprisonment at Winchester Crown Court on Friday (18/10).

He pleaded guilty at the same court on 21 August after being found guilty on six counts of attempting sexual communication with a child; two counts of attempting to cause a child to watch sexual acts and one count of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

Richards was sentenced for the nine offences as follows:

  1. Six counts of attempted sexual communication with a child; sentenced to 16 months imprisonment for each count;
  2. Two counts of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act; sentenced to eight months imprisonment for each count;
  3. One count of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence; sentenced to four years imprisonment.

All the sentences are to be served concurrently.

Richards was arrested on 12 September 2018 at Basingstoke Leisure Park, Hampshire, where he had travelled in the expectation to meet and commit sexual abuse with a 13-year-old child, but was arrested by officers from SEROCU. 

HHJ Barnett in sentencing commented on the “prolific nature of Richards’s behaviour” and “the significant degree of planning that went into these offences.  It culminated in the fact that you intended to bring about sex with a child”

Gareth Richards

Richards was placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely and a further sexual harm prevention order to run in line with his registration period.

“Richards posed a significant risk to children and I am pleased he is now behind bars.

This forms part of our continued priority to protect children from sexual exploitation from those who seek to do them harm. The sentence reflects the seriousness of the offences Gareth Richards had committed.

This was an intelligence led investigation over a number of months and reflects the hard work and dedication by officers from SEROCU in order to bring those who seek to do harm to children to justice.

If anyone has been a victim of child sexual abuse, I would urge you to report it to your local police force via 101. We will always follow up allegations of abuse, no matter when they occurred. Victims can talk in confidence to experienced Investigators and we can also help them get access to a range of other support services.”

Detective Inspector Phil Attwood, from SEROCU