Too little for destroying young lives

First published in Our View by

There can be a no more heinous crime than the rape of a young child by a grown up.
The forced destruction of a small girl’s innocence by a far more powerful adult whom she was encouraged to trust is a crime that all decent, right-thinking people will view as disgusting and depraved.
Jeffery Gilbert, who features on our front page today, thought he’d got away with it – not once but 11 times. His vile behaviour inflicted untold damage on two young girls over an extended period, one just seven years old when he began.
The fact that he was eventually caught owes everything to the courage of his two victims, who bore their pain for years until they felt strong enough to come forward and make a complaint. They were rightly praised by both Judge Peter Benson and Detective Constable Jodie Hayes, of the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, who said their bravery had ensured that Gilbert would “spend a significant time behind bars.”
But, although this evil man was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment, in theory he could be released on licence – admittedly for the rest of his life – after serving just half that term.
Many will believe that is not enough and that there are some crimes where the full sentence should be the minimum served if justice is to be seen to be done.

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