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
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect