Ex-PCSO jailed over child sex abuse

 

A former police community support officer (PCSO) who was involved in caring for vulnerable children was today condemned as a "predatory paedophile" as he was sentenced to 10 years in jail for child sex offences.

Gary Hastings, 48, of Wright Street, Hull, showed no emotion as the judge said he had abused his position of trust to abuse two vulnerable young boys.

He pleaded guilty at York Crown Court last month to seven counts of sexual activity with two boys, aged 14 and 15, over a two-year period.

Sentencing him today, Judge Stephen Ashurst said: "This, on any view, is an extremely serious case, made more serious by the fact you have offended against two young men, who in my judgement were plainly vulnerable at the time."

Referring to his first victim, the judge added: "He was scared and confused. And in his own words, drawn from his victim personal statement, you completely messed up his life.

"It has left him acutely embarrassed and ashamed."

"This case is an example of the courage of young abuse victims in coming forward. There was here a very thorough and painstaking investigation.

"As a result of the courage shown (of the two victims) it is a demonstration that that is the only way in which a predatory paedophile can be brought to justice."

The judge said there was a breach of trust involved and a "huge disparity" in the ages between Hastings and his victims.

"You were three times older than these two boys," he added.

He said Hastings had denied he was sexually attracted to the boys, but he added: "The fact they were underage was a factor in your sexual makeup."

He said Hastings would have undergone training in child protection issues and must have been aware of the risks in coming into contact with teenage boys.

Hastings, who resigned from Humberside Police when the offences came to light, was also made subject to a sexual offences prevention order which limits his contact with young people.

Hastings began work as a PCSO in north-east Lincolnshire in March 2008 after undergoing "standard vetting procedures for this role", his former force said.

The court was told Hastings took his first victim on a trip to Newcastle in his yellow MG car and during the journey he felt his thigh.

The pair stayed at a flat where oral sex took place.

The victim said he felt "awkward and dirty" during the visit.

This pattern of having oral sex continued for some months but did not progress to anal sex, the court was told.

Hastings met his second victim through a gay website.

He was studying for his GCSEs and was 15 at the time.

Prosecuting, Simon Kealey, said on one occasion the victim turned up at his flat in his school uniform.

He added: "He asked him to change as he didn't want to come across as a paedophile."

On occasions when the victim refused to have anal sex with Hastings, he would "kick off", the court was told.

In mitigation, Mark McKone said Hastings had "destroyed his life" and as a former PCSO and convicted sex offender he would find prison life "particularly difficult".

He said he had held a responsible job and was hard working.

Superintendent Ray Higgins, head of the Professional Standards Branch at Humberside Police, said: "I welcome the sentence that has been handed out today.

"I recognise that Gary Hastings pleaded guilty at a very early stage and so has prevented his victims from being put through the traumatic experience of a lengthy trial, but nevertheless, it was his appalling abuse of trust that lead to these young men becoming victims and no doubt their experiences will live with them for the rest of their lives."

Hastings worked for Humberside Police as a PCSO between 2008 and 2011 and underwent the necessary vetting procedures before being taken on by the force.

He was suspended from duty in August 2011 when this investigation was under way and he later then resigned from the force in January of this year.

"I would like to reassure the public that Humberside Police does not take this sort of criminal activity of our staff lightly and we strive to ensure that any inappropriate behaviour by staff, be it criminal or otherwise, will be dealt with robustly," the officer added.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links