Exmouth stage manager jailed for sexually abusing 14-year-old boy

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Gareth WeeksImage source, Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption,
Gareth Weeks caught was after his messages were found on another man's phone

A stage manager has been jailed for 15 years for abusing a 14-year-old boy he groomed on dating app Grindr.

Gareth Weeks, 52, of Bassetts Gardens, Exmouth, admitted several offences at Exeter Crown Court, including sexual activity with a child.

He sexually abused the boy on their second meeting after contacting him in 2018, the court heard.

He assaulted him again and secretly filmed them before sharing the video with another paedophile.

'Felt controlled'

The court heard the boy went on Grindr to meet someone his own age he could discuss his sexuality with.

He later told police he felt he was controlled by Weeks.

Weeks had worked at theatres all over Britain and boasted to friends about having known stars, the court heard.

He was jailed for child sex offences in 1993 and 2012, was still on prison licence and subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) banning contact with children.

He was caught because police traced back messages found on another man's phone, the court was told.

Weeks pleaded guilty to:

  • Two counts of sexual activity with a child
  • Meeting a child following grooming
  • Inciting a child to sexual activity
  • Arranging or facilitating a child sex offence
  • Breach of a SOPO
  • Making, taking and distributing indecent images of children

Judge Timothy Rose said Weeks carried out "a string of remarkably serious offences" against a "particularly vulnerable" victim and "it is quite clear you did not care".

Defending, Brian Fitzherbert said Weeks was unclear at first about the boy's age because they met through an adults' only app.

He said Weeks did well after finishing his last sentence while under intense supervision but did not get enough support after moving to Devon.

Weeks will be on the sex offenders register for life.

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