Sex offenders jailed

A Bognor Regis man has been jailed for 14 years after one of the most complex investigations into child sex offences in Sussex.

David Keen, 29, said by police to be a 'predatory sex offender' after sexually abusing young boys, was given the indeterminate sentence on Tuesday and will be on licence for life.

Keen pleaded guilty to 28 matters including possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children, engaging in sexual activity with children under 16, and conspiracy to commit such offences. He possessed more than 5,000 indecent images of children.

Sentenced alongside him at Hove Crown Court was John Churchley, of Littlehampton, who was given eight years imprisonment.

Churchley, 59, pleaded guilty to possessing more than 42,000 indecent images of children. Both Keen and Churchley will be on the sex offenders' register for life.

DI Jeff Riley, of the Major Crime Branch who led the investigation, said: "David Keen and John Churchley are predatory sex offenders. Keen, in particular, formed relationships with boys from a very early age.

"He was very sophisticated in his grooming process. He would begin looking after neighbours' children, often babysitting them from when they were as young as eight.

"His grooming would often begin at this early age and as the boys grew to trust him more, his levels of offending would increase."

A mother of one of Keen's victims, now aged 16, said: "Words cannot express the devastating effect of what Keen and Churchley did to my son and the other boys.

"Our family is a close-knit, loving one and we have learned the hard way that paedophiles are not the dirty old men in the grubby raincoats but ordinary looking men who walk among us. This doesn't just happen to other people in other communities but those in ones where you feel safe and secure.

"No sentence will ever match the lifelong suffering my son and our family will endure. My son's innocence was stolen."

Keen met Churchley through an online dating site and within weeks of meeting, he offered the boys to Churchley for a fee. Churchley was identified as a result of an investigation into suspected child sex offenders identified in Operation Algebra. This lead to the arrest of Keen.

Sussex Police believe there are more victims of Keen in the Bognor Regis area.

If you have been a victim of child abuse in relation to this matter, or any other, speak to your parents, a professional you trust, such as a teacher or doctor, or Childline on 0800 11 11.