A PAEDOPHILE who preyed on children as he volunteered for a Dorset youth football team has been caged for life.
George Gibbs, 65, targeted young boys in search of a father figure during his time as a referee with the club.
During a five-week trial, it was heard that Gibbs raped two boys, one repeatedly, and abused others after offering them drugs and alcohol.
One youngster who refused his advances was forced to strip at gunpoint and perform a sex act on the defendant.
Gibbs, of Krelim Drive, Tuebrook in Liverpool, later moved to Thailand, where he was more easily able to access children.
He was found guilty of 26 offences, including indecent assault and buggery, forcing his victims to relive their horrific ordeals in the witness box.
However, in an interview with the probation service, he admitted he had committed virtually all of the crimes he had been accused of.
The court heard moving statements from his victims, all of whom come from the Bournemouth and Poole area where Gibbs was living at the time.
One of the men said: “You preached trust, loyalty and respect but your real interest was in sordid, selfish, self gratification.”
Many of his victims said they had not been able to bring themselves to tell even their wives or parents about what happened to them in the 1980s and 1990s.
Following the trial at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Denis Watson QC jailed Gibbs for life, telling him he must serve eleven and a half years less time spent on remand before he could even be considered for parole.
He said: “Outwardly you could be charming, generous and sociable, yet beneath this facade there was and still is a much darker, sinister selfish and dangerous side to you.
“That is that you were and still are a manipulative, predatory paedophile. This was prolonged, repeated, predatory sexual conduct where you groomed and corrupted a number of young men by drink, drugs and force. These were wicked offences which have resulted in life scarring experiences for all concerned.”
A statement released by the officer in charge of the case, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Sephton, said: “In my opinion George Gibbs is a dangerous individual who poses a risk to children both on Merseyside and across the country.”
Gibbs won a £70,000 payout from The Sun newspaper in 2011 after appearing in a story headlined Smashed: World’s Biggest Paedo Ring.
The article reported that the then 62-year-old fled to Thailand to prey on teenagers before returning to the UK.
He sued the paper over the claims and won.
It is now thought the national paper will take Gibbs to court to recover the sum later this year.
A spokesperson from Liverpool Crown Court said: “There is a hearing on a fraud matter that is due to take place on August 29.”
Police warned of behaviour almost 25 years ago
A FORMER acquaintance of prolific paedophile George Gibbs has told of how he contacted Dorset Police with his concerns more than 23 years ago.
John Ward, of Poole Road in Westbourne, considered going into business with Gibbs in 1990, but became worried about the way he acted with children.
Mr Ward said he went to police almost a quarter of a century ago to report his fears, but nothing was done.
He contacted the force again six years ago, but has claimed that once again, police didn’t help.
“I became very suspicious of him and his dealings with young boys,” Mr Ward said.
“He always seemed to have a child with him whenever I saw him. There were lots of things that made me feel a bit uneasy, like the way he spoke to them. He just carried on and carried on. It’s absolutely horrendous to consider now.”
Mr Ward ended the business relationship and reported his fears about Gibbs to the police.
He said: “Nothing happened – nothing was ever done.
“I thought he’d been interfering with children, went to the police and nothing happened. To think it was all those years ago, and he must have been committing these awful offences because he wasn’t stopped in time.”
He has now approached the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Mr Ward said: “I’m coming forward now because I believe there could be more victims out there.
“I’d urge anyone who has been hurt by this monster to speak to the police.