Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Local News

Court jails ‘sexual predator’ who raped girl

A “sexual predator” who repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted a young child over the course of six years, threatening to beat her up if she ever told anybody, was yesterday jailed for 18 years.

James George Bell, 48, began his “campaign of rape and horrific sexual abuse” against the girl when she was just nine years old, the Supreme Court heard.

Bell, a security guard, pleaded guilty to 12 ‘sample charges’ of rape and sexual assault, reflecting his conduct between April 2009 and July 2015 when the matter was finally reported to police and he was arrested.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of 331 indecent images of children, taking indecent photos of the victim and possession of one ‘Category A’ image placing it at the top end of the scale used to classify these types of images.

At yesterday’s sentencing hearing prosecutor Robert Fischel, QC, outlined each of the offences in turn and described the nature of the abuse.

It is impossible to state on how many occasions he raped and sexually assaulted her, Mr Fischel told the court, but he added that it happened on a very regular basis over the six year period.

This drew the interjection of the Chief Justice, Anthony Dudley, who highlighted the pre-sentencing report in which Bell told probation officers that he did not know how regularly he had assaulted the girl and that it could have been ‘once a month or once a week’.

Mr Justice Dudley said that according to Bell’s more conservative estimate of ‘once a month’ the girl would have been raped or sexually assaulted 80 times over the six year period. If it had been once a week then the figure stands closer to 300.

“It doesn’t surprise me…it is a very sad case,” Mr Fischel replied.

FULL STORY IN OUR PRINT AND E-EDITIONS